'Fantastic Beasts': Will beloved wizard Dumbledore return?

Director David Yates has slowly released details of his upcoming films 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.' One of his latest revelations is which part actor Johnny Depp will play.

Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP
Johnny Depp arrives at the premiere of 'Alice Through the Looking Glass' at the El Capitan Theatre on May 23, 2016, in Los Angeles. Depp is reportedly appearing in the 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them' movie series.

Director David Yates has revealed more about a familiar character that will appear in the November “Harry Potter” spin-off movie “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” and more about actor Johnny Depp’s role.

Mr. Yates, who also directed “Potter” movies including both parts of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” recently told the “Potter” website the Leaky Cauldron that Mr. Depp is playing villain Grindelwald in the “Fantastic” movie series.

It had previously been announced that Depp would be in the series but not in what role. “Potter” fans know that Gellert Grindelwald was a major villain in Harry’s world before Harry’s nemesis, Lord Voldemort, came along. Harry’s mentor, Albus Dumbledore, was friends with Grindelwald but later dueled with him after Grindelwald showed himself to be evil. After Dumbledore and Grindelwald dueled, Grindelwald was put in prison.

Naturally enough, Yates also revealed that Dumbledore will be a part of the “Fantastic” series, appearing in the second film, though actor Michael Gambon, who portrayed Dumbledore in the “Potter” series, will not play this younger version, according to Yates.

The first film in the “Fantastic” series is written by “Potter” author J.K. Rowling and will debut in theaters later this month, on Nov. 18.

“Fantastic” is sticking to at least part of the “Potter” movie schedule with its November debut. Four of the eight “Potter” movies were released during that month, with the series introducing itself to the world in November 2001 and the follow-up, “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets,” also debuting in November before the series moved to a summer release date with “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.”

November has also been the home of such blockbusters as Disney’s film “Frozen,” which is now the highest-grossing animated movie of all time internationally without adjusting for inflation, and the “Hunger Games” film series, which after its first installment debuted in March 2012 moved to November for its subsequent three installments.

New York Times writer Bernard Weinraub noted as far back as 1993 that the Thanksgiving holiday was a big part of November box office success.

“Thanksgiving is the five biggest days of the year as far as box office is concerned,” Robert G. Friedman, the president of worldwide theatrical advertising and publicity for Warner Brothers, told the Times. “People aren't out shopping for Christmas yet. It's not the most exciting time on television. There's not a lot of outdoor recreation in the Midwest and the East. Everybody goes to the movies at some point over Thanksgiving.”

The movies near the top of the list of the highest-grossing November releases of all time without adjusting for inflation are all movies like the “Hunger” series, the “Potter” series, and the similarly YA-skewing “Twilight” series that could appeal to multiple age groups.

And possibly because of this, a Thanksgiving release date doesn’t always mean success if you’re not appealing to the right audiences, wrote Gary Susman of Moviefone in 2014. Mr. Susman noted that the movie “Horrible Bosses 2” did not succeed during Thanksgiving.

“It's not clear that Thanksgiving is even a good time to release a raunchy, R-rated comedy,” Susman wrote. “Those movies tend to do well in the summertime (as the first "Horrible Bosses" did), but at family times like Thanksgiving, who's going to want to see that kind of fare?”

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