Box Office Preview: ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’

Earlier this week, the latest installment to the enormously popular Harry Potter franchise received less than stellar early reviews from critics. The sequel to 2016’s reintroduction to the Wizarding World is currently sitting at 57% on Rotten Tomatoes with a 6.3/10 average rating. The tepid reviews, though, don’t seem to be quelling moviegoers’ excitement – led by the JK Rowling’s devout Potterheads – heading into the film’s worldwide release this week.

According to both Deadline and Variety, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is trending towards a global haul of around $253M for its opening weekend – with some estimates reaching as high as $275M. The bottom of said range still being greater than the opening weekend total of 2016’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. 

Domestically, Grindelwald is tracking towards an opening of $65-70M which would be slightly less than the original’s $74.4M debut – but make no mistake, Warner Bros. understands that Harry Potter is a global franchise. As such, they expect a 70/30 international/domestic split at the box office. The estimated $188-205M foreign opening would be greater than 2016’s $180M (when you factor in China which opened later than many of the other foreign markets). With stronger pre-sales and more of a focus put on the Chinese audience, China’s 3-day opening is expected to come in at around $45M, compared to 2016’s $41M. So, while the domestic opening may be a tick below 2016’s actuals, the foreign numbers – which, again, are expected to count for 70% of the film’s total gross – are all tracking higher than Grindelwald’s predecessor.

It’s almost impossible to accurately forecast how much Grindelwald will ultimately earn at both the domestic and foreign box offices. In 2016, Fantastic Beasts’ domestic and foreign opening weekends accounted for 32% and 31% of each total, respectively. If we assume Grindelwald performs similarly, with our current high and low estimates, we get a low of about $805M and a high of $880M, which would average out to around $842M – a 3.4% increase from 2016.

Realistically, though sequels don’t perform the exact same way as their predecessors. There are innumerable factors that come into account. Johnny Depp’s role in the film, for example, has stirred up a bit of controversy and upset some fans of the franchise. Other moviegoers are just uninterested in the continuing adventures of, main character, Newt Scamander and co. Then there’s the possibility of the movie just not living up to the exceedingly high expectations put on such a high-profile, blockbuster franchise. The critical score is already 16% lower than the original on Rotten Tomatoes, but fans and critics aren’t always of the same mind these days – see Bohemian Rhapsody and VenomGrindelwald’s performance will ultimately rely on how audiences, and Potterheads, receive the film.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald hits theaters in North America this Friday, (11/16).

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