As expected, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” will close out its opening weekend with $75 million, enough to top the North American box office but falling short of the domestic debuts of all eight “Harry Potter” films.
Overseas, the Warner Bros. movie raked in $143.3 million across 63 markets for a worldwide haul of $218.3 million. In South Korea and Russia, “Fantastic Beasts” actually outperformed every “Harry Potter” installment, earning $14.3 million and $9.8 million, respectively.
The U.S. numbers for “Fantastic Beasts” are already raising doubts whether a $75 million opening is enough of a foundation for Warner Bros. and author/screenwriter J.K. Rowling to build another franchise (planned as five films, all directed by “Harry Potter” veteran David Yates). An unnamed studio rival told Deadline that somewhere north of $90 million would’ve been a “proper” start.
Starring Eddie Redmayne as renowned magizoologist Newt Scamander, the expansion of Rowling’s Wizarding World attracted an older audience in the United States than the final two “Harry Potter” films, with 65 percent of the audience over the age of 25.
Domestically, Marvel’s “Doctor Strange” finished its third weekend stronger than predicted, earning another $17.7 million — enough to finish in second place. DreamWorks Animation’s “Trolls” came in third with $17.5 million, followed by Paramount Pictures’ “Arrival” with $11.8 million and Universal Pictures’ “Almost Christmas” with $7 million.
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