Fantastic Beasts flies to top of the US box office

2018-11-19 11:53
Jude Law in a scene from "Fantastic Beasts: The Cr

Los Angeles — Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald crawled, slithered and flew its way to the top of the weekend box office with a $62.2m opening in the U.S. and Canada, according to studio estimates on Sunday.

The latest offering from the Harry Potter multiverse fell short of the opening of the first film in the Warner Bros. series, 2016's Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which debuted with $74m in a similar November release and went on to earn $234m in the U.S. and Canada.

But all the Harry Potter films have had a broad international reach, and Fantastic Beasts had a hearty worldwide weekend gross, bringing in $191m internationally for a total of $253m, according to the studio's estimates.

"Clearly it's a huge phenomenon globally," said Jeff Goldstein, president of domestic distribution for Warner Bros.

Last week's top film, Dr. Seuss' The Grinch, was second with $38.1m, bringing its domestic tally to $126m for Universal Pictures after two weekends. It took in $9.4m more internationally.

Bohemian Rhapsody, 20th Century Fox's Freddie Mercury biopic, is still rocking, taking third place with $15.7m for a total of $127m. It remains a global hit, bringing in an additional $45.5m internationally.

Fantastic Beasts, the second film in the series of Potter prequels written by J.K. Rowling and starring Eddie Redmayne, Johnny Depp and Jude Law, had a budget of $200m. Its reviews were largely lackluster, with critics saying Rowling's magical world is wearing thin after 10 films.

Globally the first nine films have earned $8.5bn, a total that this one's worldwide take will inflate.

"This is yet another example of a movie whose opening weekend skewed heavily into the international territories," said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for comScore. "This happens a lot with bigger franchise movies. For many of these blockbusters, it's the international component that comes in and saves the day."

In the U.S., Warner Bros. is hoping young devotees who are out of school will keep Fantastic Beasts in flight through Thanksgiving.

"It's a big week coming up," Goldstein said. "Friday is one of the biggest movie days of the year."

It will have a major challenger in Disney's Ralph Breaks The Internet, which opens on Wednesday, as does Creed II.

Fantastic Beasts continues a year of high points and hits for Warner from a diverse string of movies, including The Meg, Crazy Rich Asians, The Nun and A Star is Born.

"Warner Bros. is on a roll that every studio would envy," Dergarabedian said.

In this weekend's smaller-budget openings, Instant Family starring Mark Wahlberg brought in $14.7m for Paramount Pictures, and Widows, the latest from 12 Years a Slave director Steve McQueen, earned $12.3m domestically and $2.8m internationally for 20th Century Fox. Instant Family has only opened in North America.

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