‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’ came in at about the same level at the weekend box office as was expected, with $62.2 million. The first ‘Fantastic Beasts’ movie opened to $75M in 2016, so this slight dip was not a surprise. But globally, the sophomore chapter opened to $253M, which pushes the ‘Harry Potter’ spin-off franchise past the $1 billion mark (most of that comes from the first movie, of course). The first movie opened to about $220M worldwide, so while it has slipped in the US, it seems to be building steam elsewhere.
The weaker performance in the US is typical, but Warner Brothers really switched gears in marketing this movie. With ‘Where to Find Them’, JK Rowling didn’t want to rely on the prior success of ‘Harry Potter’, so the movie was marketed as its own free-standing brand. For ‘The Crimes of Grindelwald’, WB shoved every shot of Hogwarts into the trailers they could find and emphasized that Jude Law was portraying a younger version of the beloved Dumbledore. Audiences liked it okay. They gave it a B+ via CinemaScore. Critics weren’t fans, with it averaging a weak 40% on Rotten Tomatoes. And according to Relish Mix, the social media monitoring group, while ‘Potter’ fans like ‘Fantastic Beasts’ well enough, it doesn’t have the same “magic” as the ‘Potter’ films and they are unhappy with the ambiguity of the new film.
The Mark Wahlberg/Rose Byrne family comedy ‘Instant Family’ opened with $13M, placing it at #4 for the weekend, behind last weekend’s winner ‘The Grinch’. ‘Instant Family’s budget was $48M, so this opening is pretty bad. It is a family movie, but one that mainly appeals to the adult side of the equation. Kids are more likely to be interested in ‘Fantastic Beasts’, ‘The Grinch’ or may be holding out for ‘Ralph Breaks the Internet‘ next weekend. Among families with older kids and teens, there is also competition from the #3 movie, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, which appeals to members of various generations.
- Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (Warner Brothers) – $62.2M
- The Grinch (Universal/Illuminations) – $38.2M
- Bohemian Rhapsody (20th Century Fox/New Regency/GK Films) – $15.5M
- Instant Family (Paramount) – $13M
- Widows (20th Century Fox/New Regency) – $11.9M
The family audience is going to be even further divided next weekend when Disney’s sequel ‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’ arrives. In addition to being the follow-up to a successful movie, Disney has hyped up the fact that this movie features cameos by the Disney Princesses, C-3PO and other ‘Star Wars’ characters, and more.
Speaking of sequels, Sylvester Stallone’s ‘Creed II’ also opens and could offer a nice bit of counter-programming and could appeal to older viewers.
Not sure about this last one, but the newest big screen version of ‘Robin Hood’ is also opening. The stunts look impressive, but there doesn’t seem to be any buzz for it.
Check back to see how things pan out.