Audiences around the world have now been given the chance to once again immerse themselves into the Wizarding World, but instead of following Harry Potter through a ninth movie installment, this time around a mainly new cast of characters were put front and center. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them took this universe back to the 1920’s as Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) travels to the United States to further his study of magical creatures. Instead of an easy trip, Newt’s briefcase containing the beasts is opened, unleashing the creatures across New York.
Even though the prequel to the Harry Potter films has subtle connections to the larger mythos of the universe, it is a brand new franchise in its own right. The lack of familiarity to the brand itself produced a wide ranging expected opening with the film being projected for an opening between $75-$90 million. With the weekend almost over, it appears that Fantastic Beasts will open on the low end of those projections.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them has reportedly opened to $75 million in the states according to Exhibitor Relations. This is the lowest opening ever for any film in the Harry Potter franchise. While that does not sound great, it was the clear winner at the box office this weekend and remains one of the biggest openings of the year.
Warner Bros. is sure to be happy with this opening, but it is surprising Fantastic Beasts did not do bigger numbers to start. Just a few weeks ago, the other magical adventure of the year, Doctor Strange, exceeded expectations. The success of Doctor Strange would have seemed to help Fantastic Beasts since audiences would get the chance to see another magic filled movie shortly after.
This may have been the low end of expectations, but $75 million in a weekend is nothing but a success from a box office perspective. It also shows that there is interest in this new franchise, which is good news for the studio with four sequels already in the works. Something that they will certainly be keeping an eye on is how well it performs in the weeks to come and overseas.
With it looking like Fantastic Beasts has surplanted Doctor Strange as the young adult and adult crowd favorite, it now sits in the way of Moana and the family audience that movie is targeting. Moana may not seem like a film that would have the same target audience, but Disney’s recent animated films have performed very well at the box office and could diminish the returns of Fantastic Beasts in its second week. Outside of Moana and Doctor Strange, Fantastic Beasts should have a few weeks to stay near the top of the box office reports before Rogue One: A Star Wars Story comes to cinemas.