Box Office: ‘Fantastic Beasts 3’ aims for $ 40 million debut

A bunch of intrepid wizards will duel against a little blue speed demon to head domestic ticket offices.

Odds favorite “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore”, the third contribution in the “Harry Potter” spinoff series, is expected to debut for at least $ 40 million from 4,200 North American theaters. These ticket sales should be enough to surpass the competition – unless last weekend’s champion “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” gets another strong attendance in cinemas. Paramount’s kid-friendly sequel opened last weekend for a whopping $ 72 million and could add $ 30 million to $ 40 million in its second outing.

Elsewhere, Sony Pictures gets off to an early start by bringing “Father Stu,” an R-rated faith-based drama starring Mark Wahlberg and Mel Gibson to cinemas on Wednesday. The film is expected to gross $ 7 million from 2,705 theaters in the first five days after release.

“Harry Potter” veteran David Yates directed “The Secrets of Dumbledore,” an amazing adventure that puts a larger spotlight on the beloved Hogwarts professor Albus Dumbledore (portrayed by Jude Law). In the new film, he teams up with the remarkable magic zoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) and friends to prevent the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Madds Mikkelson, who replaces Johnny Depp) from igniting a wizarding world war. Also on the cast are Ezra Miller, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Callum Turner and Jessica Williams.

The third chapter of the prequel series, which precedes the adventures of Harry, Ron and Hermione, has received mixed reviews. Variations Peter Debruge called the film a “much-improved sequel,” while The Daily Beasts Nick Schager said “this superficial bit of IP exploitation is a reminder that all good things come to an end.” The Prequel saga is intended to be a five-film franchise, but executives at Warner Bros. waiting to see how “The Secrets of Dumbledore” will be received before giving movies four and five the green light.

JK Rowling and Steve Kloves co-wrote “Fantastic Beasts 3,” which cost $ 200 million to produce. It’s about to land the lowest start for the “Harry Potter” adjacent movie. 2016’s “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” ignited to $ 74 million in North America, while the 2018 sequel “The Crimes of Grindelwald” bowed for a slightly less magical $ 62 million. In the case of “The Secrets of Dumbledore”, COVID can pose a challenge to final ticket earnings. Since the beginning of the pandemic, only five Hollywood movies have generated at least $ 500 million at the worldwide box office.

Like its predecessors, “The Secrets of Dumbledore” will depend on the International Ticket Office to make money on its theater run. The first two “Fantastic Beasts” installments – which ended with $ 814 million globally and $ 650 million globally, respectively – accounted for nearly 75% of foreign sales revenue. Before it landed in the US and Canada, “Fantastic Beasts 3” opened overseas, with the film already drawing $ 58 million from 22 overseas markets. “The Secrets of Dumbledore” arrives in 44 additional markets, including France, Italy, Korea, Brazil and Mexico, this weekend.

For those smugglers who want to go to the cinema, “Father Stu” – a rare religious film for land distribution of a large Hollywood studio – arrives in time for Easter. Wahlberg, who also produced, personally helped fund “Father Stu,” as COVID-19 incurred additional costs. Rosalind Ross, Gibson’s partner, wrote and directed the faith-based film, which tells the story of the boxer who became a priest, Father Stuart Long, and his inspiring journey from self-destruction to redemption.

IN Variations review, chief film critic Owen Gleiberman called the film “at times awkward,” but praised Wahlberg, saying he “gives a fine performance, especially when he goes to a place you did not expect.”

“Father Stu” is Gibson’s first major studio film since 2017’s “Daddy’s Home 2” from Paramount Pictures. As an Oscar winner for “Braveheart” and an Oscar nominee for “Hacksaw Ridge,” Gibson has largely worked on minor indie and direct-to-streaming action movies with Lionsgate and Saban Films for a decade since making headlines for anti-Semitic and racist tirades.

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