Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald crawled, slithered and flew its way to the top of the weekend box office with a $62.2 million (Dh228.24 million) opening in the US and Canada, according to studio estimates on Sunday.
The latest offering from the Harry Potter multiverse fell short of the opening of the first film in the Warner Bros. series, 2016’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which debuted with $74 million in a similar November release and went on to earn $234 million in the US and Canada.
But all the Harry Potter films have had a broad international reach, and Fantastic Beasts had a hearty worldwide weekend gross, bringing in $191 million internationally for a total of $253 million, according to the studio’s estimates.
“Clearly it’s a huge phenomenon globally,” said Jeff Goldstein, president of domestic distribution for Warner Bros.
Last week’s top film, Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch, was second with $38.1 million, bringing its domestic tally to $126 million for Universal Pictures after two weekends. It took in $9.4 million more internationally.
Bohemian Rhapsody, 20th Century Fox’s Freddie Mercury biopic, is still rocking, taking third place with $15.7 million for a total of $127 million. It remains a global hit, bringing in an additional $45.5 million internationally.
Fantastic Beasts, the second film in the series of Potter prequels written by JK Rowling and starring Eddie Redmayne, Johnny Depp and Jude Law, had a budget of $200 million. Its reviews were largely lacklustre, with critics saying Rowling’s magical world is wearing thin after 10 films.
Globally the first nine films have earned $8.5 billion, a total that this one’s worldwide take will inflate.
“This is yet another example of a movie whose opening weekend skewed heavily into the international territories,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for comScore. “This happens a lot with bigger franchise movies. For many of these blockbusters, it’s the international component that comes in and saves the day.”
In the US, Warner Bros. is hoping young devotees who are out of school will keep Fantastic Beasts in flight through Thanksgiving.
“It’s a big week coming up,” Goldstein said. “Friday is one of the biggest movie days of the year.”
It will have a major challenger in Disney’s Ralph Breaks The Internet, which opens Wednesday, as does Creed II.