‘Fantastic Beasts’ matches industry expectations with $75 million opening weekend

ScreenerBlog

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’s opening weekend might not have been fantastic, per se—but it was still pretty good, which at least puts it in a better position than its fellow new wide releases. Fantastic Beasts stayed in line with industry expectations with a $75 million debut haul, the lowest opening of a Harry Potter film so far. (Up to this point, that honor belonged to 2007's Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which bowed to $77.1 million and topped out at $292 million domestic, $939.8 million worldwide.) Internationally, Fantastic Beasts has earned $143.3 million so far, bringing its worldwide cume to $218.3 million with release in a handful of markets--notably Japan and China--still forthcoming.

The rest of the top five shook out more or less as expected, spots two through five going to holdovers Doctor Strange (weekend gross $17.6 million, total gross $181.5 million), Trolls (weekend gross $17.5 million, total gross $116.2 million), Arrival (weekend gross $11.8 million, total gross $43.3 million) and Almost Christmas (weekend gross $7 million, total gross $25.4 million). Worldwide, Doctor Strange is now the tenth highest-grossing Marvel Cinematic Universe entry with $571.5 million; another week should get it past Iron Man’s $585.2 million and into spot nine.

The real story this weekend belongs to new wide releases The Edge of Seventeen and Bleed for This, both of which fell far short of industry expectations. The former film, thought to bow in the $8-$10 million range, instead earned only $4.8 million, while boxing drama Bleed for This fared even worse, taking in $2.3 million on just over 1,500 screens. Strong word of mouth and an A- CinemaScore might help the former film—Bleed for This had the same CinemaScore paired with lukewarm reviews—but it’s looking like this might be one that ends up only finding its audience once it hits home video. On the plus side, both films had modest production budgets: $9 million for The Edge of Seventeen, $6 million for Bleed for This.

Also enjoying a less-than-great weekend was Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, which expanded from two theatres to 1,176. You’d think director Ang Lee’s pedigree, on top of the film’s much-discussed visual innovations (it was shot on 120fps, though most theatres screened it in the usual 24) would have helped it get to at least one or two million, but… no. Negative word of mouth no doubt hamstrung the film, resulting in a weekend gross of only $930,000. That’s a $791 per-theatre average, the worst of the weekend for any film playing on over a thousand screens.

There’s some good news courtesy of Moonlight, which continues its very solid limited run. Slow and steady, guys. In its fifth week, the Oscar contender expanded from 176 screens to 650 and saw its box office jump to a very respectable $1.5 million (total domestic gross $6.7 million). Jeff Nichols’ Loving also played the expansion game well, adding 91 theatres and earning $854,000 in its third week. Focus Features will add an additional 292 screens this Wednesday in advance of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Two much-anticipated limited releases hit theatres this weekend: Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals ($494,000 on 37 screens) and Kenneth Lonergan’s Manchester by the Sea ($241,320 on four screens). Other new limited releases included I Am Not Madame Bovary ($202,500 on 38 screens), The Take ($39,000 on 100 screens), A Street Cat Named Bob ($35,070 on 25 screens), Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened ($22,573 on two screens), the 25th anniversary re-release of Julie Dash’s Daughters of the Dust ($10,842 on a single screen), Blood on the Mountain ($3,443 on two screens) and Magnus ($1,000 on a single screen).