Box Office: ‘Fantastic Beasts’ Cursed with Franchise-Low $75 Million

"Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" (2016) - Weekend Box Office

‘Fantastic Beasts’ Trails Entire Harry Potter Franchise

There might not be enough magic in this weekend’s top film, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The first of five Harry Potter spin-offs opened to an estimated $75 million.

Fantastic Beasts was never expected to pull in a massive haul like the last two Harry Potter films, clearing $100 million opening weekend. But we’re witnessing the weakest debut yet for the franchise. Even Order of the Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince both opened to $77 million even with a mid-week start. As the first Wizarding World film in five years, much of the hype dropped with Fantastic Beasts. Warner Bros. even re-released all eight Potter films in October to spark interest. Yet, the turnout was much lower than anticipated. Audiences seem to still be spellbound as Fantastic Beasts garnered an A on Cinemascore. That didn’t translate into the $90 million debut many box office pundits were expecting. A $200 million run is going to be difficult as Potter films burned up faster as the franchise went along. To even consider such as run, Fantastic Beasts will have to perform like 2005’s Goblet of Fire.

After two weeks on top, Doctor Strange might have to start bargaining at the box office. The Marvel hit dropped one spot, pulling in $17.7 million in its third weekend. After 17 days, Doctor Strange grossed $181.5 million, pushing it over Thor, Ant-Man and Captain America: The First Avenger. With Fantastic Beasts taking away plenty of standard business as well as IMAX screens, a solid drop was expected. Its 58.9% drop was much harder than rest of the top films. Still, it held better than Thor: The Dark World did in a similar 2013 frame. If Doctor Strange behaves like the previously mentioned Marvel movies, a $220 millon finish seems most likely.

Last weekend, DreamWorks’ Trolls benefitted from a busy Veteran’s Day weekend. One week later, the animated film is back down to earth dropping 50%. Grossing $17.5 million in its third weekend, Trolls flew past the century mark on Friday. By doing so, Trolls became the 25th animated film from DreamWorks to pass $100 million. $150 million still remains a possibility as it continues to perform better than Megamind. That film finished with $146 million in 2010. There is the question of how Trolls will hold against Disney’s Moana this weekend. Last Thanksgiving, The Peanuts Movie was hardly affected by Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur, dropping 26.2%. If Trolls can hang with Disney’s next mega-hit, then $150 million is a given.

Down one spot from last weekend, sci-fi thriller Arrival claimed fourth place. The Denis Villeneuve film declined in half in its second weekend, down 51%. Paramount garnered yet another $11.8 million, bringing its 10-day total to $43.4 million. It’s a slightly harder dip than recent fall sci-fi hits. Gravity, Interstellar and The Martian all held much better in their second weekends respectively. Gravity and The Martian had zero competition. Interstellar was challenged with Lionsgate’s tentpole, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1. $100 million is going to be a struggle in the long run, unless Paramount shoots for an Oscar re-release campaign in early 2017.

Rounding out the charts this weekend is holiday comedy, Almost Christmas. Like the other top holdovers, the Universal film dipped 53.5% from last weekend. With another $7 million in the bank, the David E. Talbert comedy stands at $25.4 million after 10 days. That’s on par with Talbert’s Baggage Claim, which fell 54% in its sophomore frame. The long holiday weekend may help the film this coming weekend. However, with Bad Santa 2 out this Wednesday, it’s not smooth sailing with such competition. A $40-45 million finish is still in play.

Fantastic Beasts ended up matching my $75 million prediction from Friday.

Note: These #’s are based on Sunday’s projections and can change with Monday’s actual #’s.

#1 – Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (NR)
$75.0 million / $75.0 million total

#2 – Doctor Strange (1)
$17.7 million / $181.5 million total

#3 – Trolls (2)
$17.5 million / $116.2 million total

#4 – Arrival (3)
$11.8 million  / $43.4 million total

#5 – Almost Christmas (4)
$7.0 million / $25.4 million total

Opening Next Week: Allied, Bad Santa 2, Moana, Rules Don’t Apply (all Wednesday)

Source: Box Office Mojo

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