Disney could not have been happy that Sony beat them to the theaters with an Internet-themed animated film by 15 months. Dueling projects at rival studios is a recurring theme in Hollywood (in the ‘90s, it happened nearly once a year), and the winner is almost always the one to get to the box office first.
The brain trust behind the Harry Potter series knew that they hadn’t put their best foot forward with “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.” Even with five years of distance between “Beasts” and the grim, harrowing “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2,” the whimsical tone of “Beasts” felt wrong, or at the very least unearned. The end of Harry Potter’s story brings with it the end of innocence. “Beasts” protagonist Newt Scamander may still have his innocence (and good for him), but no one watching him does. Cutesy is off the table for now, sorry.