We recently learned that Harry Potter spinoff Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them would be rated PG-13 by the MPAA, the same rating as some of the later Harry Potter movies. While this may not be a movie for small children, there's one way Fantastic Beasts will differ from the Harry Potter movies, and that's in tone.
Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts producer David Heyman was kind enough to chat with the press during a visit to the set of Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them back in December, and based on what he says, it sounds like Harry Potter fans should expect a more humor than what we saw from those darker Harry Potter movies, toward the end of the series' eight-movie run...
It's probably fair to say that there wasn't really time for humor in the later Harry Potter movies. Major character deaths began to happen in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and the stakes only grew from there. Fantastic Beasts has the luxury of beginning with a relatively clean slate, and from the sound of it, that slate will be a bit lighter, which isn't such a bad thing.
That said, we know Fantastic Beasts comes with a PG-13 rating from the MPAA due to "fantasy-action violence." So while there will be more humor in this movie than we saw in the later Harry Potter films, it sounds like the film won't be pulling any magical punches, even if it costs the film a PG audience.
Though Fantastic Beasts may have more lighter moments than we saw in the Harry Potter movies, from what David Heyman told us, this new movie will have a similar "emotional potency" and character richness to what we saw in the eight Harry Potter movies...
In some ways, Fantastic Beasts is probably fortunate not to be a straight-up book-to-film adaptation, as there's not much source material to live up to, beyond the encyclopedia of beasts, which serves as the inspiration for the movie. Sure, Harry Potter fans are certainly hoping this spinoff/prequel will live up to the standard set by the previous Harry Potters. But we aren't going into this movie with expectations of how the story should be told, how characters are supposed to look, and what parts definitely need to be brought to the screen. There's a lot less pressure on this movie than was on the Harry Potter films.
Fantastic Beasts does face the challenge of introducing new characters to viewers, likely with the hope that it'll find at least some of the dedication and adoration fans have felt toward the Harry Potter series. That's no easy task. But from what Heyman said, both as it relates to the humor in this movie, and the promise of emotional and character depth, it sounds like they're on the right track.
Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them arrives in theaters November 18, 2016.
While on the set of Fantastic Beasts, we also learned about about how the U.S. Ministry of Magic sends interoffice memos to one another (hint: they DONT use paper airplanes!), and that Newt has a brother who's a powerful auror.