Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them, David Yates and J.K. Rowling’s return to the Wizarding World, met industry projections and conjured a $75m domestic opening, and an additional $143m internationally!
The fantasy adventure, starring Eddie Redmayne and Colin Farrell, grossed $29.7m on Friday (including $8.8m in Thursday previews) and $75m across the weekend, which is lower than any of the Harry Potter movies. Outside the US (where the film is set), Beasts had record openings in 11 of 63 markets, including in the UK where it grosses $18.3m (the third biggest opening for the franchise after Deathly Hallows Parts 1 and 2). It made $14.4m in Korea, $9.9m in Germany and $9.7m in France. It’s impressive for a film to score a $218m global opening while not yet released in Chinese nor Japanese markets.
Fascinatingly, only 18% of the US audience this weekend were under the age of 18, while a stunning 55% were over the age of 35: this era of the Wizarding World is clearly appealing to an older demographic. It’ll be difficult for the film to match the Potters in its final numbers without a large chunk of the key youth audience, who clearly weren’t particularly compelled to see Newt Scamander’s 1926-set beast-finding.
In second place was another blockbuster starring a British actor as a sorcerer: Marvel’s behemoth Doctor Strange, which took another $17.7m in its third weekend for a global total of $571.5m.
Trolls and Arrival were in third and fourth place. Arrival was down 51% in its second weekend, bringing its domestic gross to $43m.
Ang Lee’s Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk continued to underwhelm commercially, expanding into 1,176 theatres with only $933,000. The adaptation of Ben Fountain’s terrific Iraq War novel has been one of Sony’s biggest failures in years, with even the star power of Vin Diesel failing to bring in audiences to a highly expensive 3D drama that critics/Oscar voters haven’t taken too kindly to.