Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them has infused some magic into the worldwide box office. The film, which marks J.K. Rowling’s screenwriting debut, hopes to bring generations of fans back into the Wizarding World, first made famous in the Harry Potter series of books and films. Fantastic Beasts arrives in theaters just over five years after Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 2, which itself had a record worldwide opening of $483.2 (since surpassed by both Jurassic World and Star Wars: The Force Awakens).
Despite the considerable buzz surrounding Fantastic Beasts, the film was not projected to reach the box office heights of the Harry Potter films. Unlike those, Fantastic Beasts is an original story inspired by the fictional textbook of the same name. Still, the Eddie Redmayne-starring film grossed an estimated $75 million domestically this weekend, which comes in just under Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix’s $77 million opening (the lowest in the Harry Potter franchise).
Variety is now reporting that Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them has grossed an estimated $143.3 million from international markets, bringing its worldwide opening to $218.3 million. While that number is currently the 39th largest worldwide opening, it is important to keep in mind that Fantastic Beasts has not yet opened in the world’s second and third-largest markets, China and Japan, respectively.
As Fantastic Beasts carried an estimated budget of $180 million (not including marketing costs), Warner Bros. has to be happy with what they are seeing. With the film receiving strong word of mouth and solid reviews, it may have some long legs – unless Moana or Rogue One steal its thunder. The film’s $218.3 million worldwide opening is greater than the second, third, and fourth Harry Potter films (Sorcerer’s Stone had a staggered roll out), while falling short of the later movies.
For comparison’s sake, the Lord of the Rings‘ prequel, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, had a worldwide opening of $222.6 million on its way to an over $1 billion final tally. It seems highly unlikely that Fantastic Beasts will have the same legs, as The Hobbit was based off an established book and released over the Christmas holiday. Still, Fantastic Beasts should do enough business to justify the ambitious five-film story J.K. Rowling is embarking to tell.
Currently, no film set in the Harry Potter universe has grossed less than Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban‘s $796 million, and Fantastic Beasts certainly has a chance to keep it that way.