Box Office: ‘Fantastic Beasts 3’ tracking for soft opening weekend

While the domestic box office shows signs of life after an era of COVID lockdowns, it seems that not all film series are supported by a return of theater-goers. “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore,” Warner Bros. ‘ recent contribution in its prequel series to the “Harry Potter” series has gotten off to a somewhat rocky start, expected to land a record low debut for a Wizarding World movie.

The third “Fantastic Beasts” earned $ 20.1 million on previews Friday and Thursday night from 4,753 North American locations, marking the lowest opening day number for a “Potter” adjacent movie. Industry analysts expect a three-day opening near $ 40 million, with some upside potential.

It’s not exactly the most catastrophic result for a 2022 cinema release, but it’s a disappointing opening for a film franchise that is supposed to behave like a box office. “Secrets of Dumbledore” has a solid production budget of $ 200 million, marked by COVID-related delays and security costs. Warner Bros. will have to look to the international audience to give the wizard successor a thriving run. “Secrets of Dumbledore” was to reach an international amount of over $ 175 million through Sunday.

“Secrets of Dumbledore” continues a downward trend for the “Fantastic Beasts” series. The first 2016 entry provided a $ 74 million home opening, while its 2018 sequel, “The Crimes of Grindelwald,” dropped to a $ 62 million debut. While one could forgive “Secrets of Dumbledore” as a victim of a theatrical landscape that does not have its pre-pandemic strength, things are not quite so simple. Lots of sequels released in the last few months have made bigger debuts than their predecessors, such as “Venom: Let There Be Carnage”, “Spider-Man: No Way Home” and last week’s “Sonic the Hedgehog 2”. It seems that “Fantastic Beasts” does not arouse that degree of enthusiasm in cinema-goers.

Once a promising opportunity to spin additional cash from the “Potter” name, “Fantastic Beasts” has become a headache for Warner Bros. “Potter” author and franchise writer JK Rowling has been widely criticized by the LGBTQIA + community for his statements about gender and gender identity. And since the 2018 sequel, Warner Bros. has reworked the role of the villain Grindelwald with Mads Mikkelsen, and removed the original actor Johnny Depp when the actor went into a controversy over allegations of domestic abuse. As the box office numbers continue to slip, the studio may have to reconsider how it approaches the wizarding world going forward.

“Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore” is directed by the franchisee, David Yates, and sees Jude Law return as the beloved Hogwarts leader Albus Dumbledore and Eddie Redmayne, repeating his role as magic zoologist Newt Scamander. Ezra Miller, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Callum Turner and Jessica Williams also star.

In his review of the film, Variety‘s lead film critic Peter Debruge called “Secrets of Dumbledore” “significantly improved” with Mikkelsen involved and wrote that “followers are likely to love the revelations that await, including a deeper commitment to the tragic love story between beloved Hogwarts principal Albus Dumbledore and the wizard determined to score a Muggle-cheek score. ” Other critics have not been so kind; the film has an overall approval rating of 49% on Rotten Tomatoes. Ticket buyers seem to be more receptive and give “Fantastic Beasts 3” a “B +” rating on CinemaScore.

Columbia Pictures’ “Father Stu” also opens this weekend and is expected to earn a five-day total of up to $ 7 million from 2,705 locations. The religious film, which premiered on Wednesday, has a modest production budget of $ 4 million. Critics have largely been indifferent, and the Mark Wahlberg vehicle has received an overall approval rating of 41% on Rotten Tomatoes. However, cinema-goers have been extremely favorable, giving “Father Stu” a glowing “A” rating on CinemaScore.

Wahlberg produces and stars in “Father Stu,” which plays a boxer who turns to the church to become a priest after suffering from a muscle disease. The R-rated drama also features Jacki Weaver and Mel Gibson in supporting roles.

Paramount’s “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” dropped to second place after its thriving $ 71 million debut. The SEGA sequel is expected to earn $ 26.5 million in its second outing, down 63% from the opening. The family-friendly film was to expand its domestic gross to $ 116 million through Sunday, placing it on track to finish above its 2020 predecessor’s total of $ 145 million (though that race was abruptly discontinued at the start of COVID-19). lockdowns).

Speaking of Harry Potter, Daniel Radcliffe is finding his own box office success outside of the franchise that established him. Paramount’s “The Lost City,” in which Radcliffe plays the villain, was to take third place at the box office with an expected $ 5.45 million fourth weekend. Sandra Bullock-Channing Tatum-two-hander will push her domestic cue past $ 77 million by Sunday.

The genre mashup “Everything Everywhere All at Once” rounds out the top five domestic ticket offices to occupy a fourth place with an expected opening weekend of $ 4.73 million. After expanding from a limited edition last Friday, A24 added even more locations this weekend – 950 to be exact – and the film appears to be down just 22% as a result. Thanks to great reviews and strong word-of-mouth releases, the indie release was set to reach a domestic gross of $ 16 million on Sunday.

Finally, Columbia Pictures’ “Morbius” loses his legs at the domestic box office. The latest entry in the studio’s self-labeled Sony Pictures Universe of Marvel Characters (which also includes Tom Hardy’s two “Venom” movies and the upcoming “Kraven the Hunter”) looks set to drop to sixth place on the domestic charts with a 58% drop from its second excursion. The Jared Leto vehicle was to suck up a total domestic gross of $ 64 million through Sunday – a figure supported by an opening of $ 39 million.

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