Critics gave Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald the Harry Potter franchise its first Rotten movie rating. Judging by this weekend’s box office results, audiences remain relatively on board. But what will the future hold?
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald topped the box office this weekend easily, but that’s about the only domestic victory the film can claim. It can’t even boast having the best start of the 2018 holiday season so far, falling behind The Grinch’s $67.5 million last week. By the time the final estimates come out it may not even be a Top 25 November opening. (However, it’s international numbers are more than solid with a worldwide tally of $253 million just this weekend.)
The $62 million opening is the lowest in the entire Harry Potter franchise. The previous low: Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them with $74.4 million. Before that it was Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, though that posted the second-highest multiple of the series with a 3.78x.
Fantastic Beasts is scheduled to be a five-part series, and critics are bailing on just the second movie. Will audiences? Anything less than $234 million domestic (likely) equals declining territory. And less than $200 million domestic will be a major disappointment for WB. So is it the international haul that truly matters? Like the Transformers and Pirates of the Caribbean franchises, American audiences may have grown weary, but as long coffers fill overseas, we will see more of them yet.
Paramount got strong reviews from critics for Mark Wahlberg-starring Instant Family, but the $48 million production from Sean Anders did not have that sweet Daddy’s Home connection with Will Ferrell. Confident that audiences would be looking for a potential feel-good film for the holidays, the studio moved the film up from February into this weekend and was rewarded with just $12.5 million. Since 1990 there have been a dozen films that have started between $13.7-$15.7 million, and only three of them have reached $50 million: The Jackal (1997), Horrible Bosses 2, and Mel Gibson’s Hacksaw Ridge, which benefited from an awards run. If word-of-mouth cannot build Instant Family this will go down as the seventh straight film that Mark Wahlberg has headlined that has ended up on the losing side of its budget. Steve McQueen’s Widows seemingly is in the same boat as Instant Family with just a $12.3 million opening and $42 million budget. But as a potential awards player, there is a room for longevity.
Illumination’s animated adaptation of The Grinch finds itself in a pretty good position, pulling ahead of The Lorax (also from Illumination) with a 10-day gross of $126.5 million. That puts The Grinch at a total end estimate in the $230-$240 million range. Meanwhile, another box office song going on: Bohemian Rhapsody, which looks to end in $170 million range. It is over $384 million worldwide to date, making the film a tremendous success for Fox.
Non-Grinch, not-Queen movies have less to sing about. With respective budgets of $38 and $43 million, Overlord and The Girl In the Spider’s Web are at a mere $17.7 and $13.2 million. The new Dragon Tattoo Story is only at $26 million worldwide. Overlord is not much better at $32 million, but it is safe to say we have have seen the last of Lisbeth Salander on the big screen. Disney and theaters are bailing fast on another overpriced failure: The Nutcracker and the Four Realms ($43 million domestic, $116 million worldwide against a$120 million budget), which vanished from over 1,100 theaters in just its third weekend.
Julian Schnabel’s At Eternity’s Gate had the best per-theater-average of the weekend, with $92,000 in four theaters, though it is not much of a number to crow about. Another awards hopeful, Green Book, played 25 theaters, driving up $312k before it will expand into over 1,000 on Wednesday. For the MST3kers out there, Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie opened in 26 theaters to $206k. (Enjoy the new season on Netflix this Wednesday!)
This time last year, Justice League led the way with $93 million but the film was ultimately a major failure, grossing just $229 million and presenting lingering questions about the DC Universe. The true success was the performance of Wonder, the heartwarming tale starring the great Jacob Tremblay, which opened to $27 million, going on to earn $132 million domestic and over $305 million worldwide. Its 4.8x multiple was the sixth best ever for a November release opening in over 3,000 theaters, behind The Blind Side, The Polar Express, Frozen, Elf, and National Treasure.
The top 10 films last year grossed $192.8 million and averaged 59% on the Tomatometer. This year’s top 10 grossed an estimated $160.7 Million, averaging 60% on the Tomatometer.
Thanksgiving is going sequel- and reboot-heavy this year. Disney is likely to win the holiday weekend for the third straight year with Ralph Breaks the Internet, which is on its way to being Certified Fresh. Creed II is on the bubble for the same certification. Then, believe it or not, we have another Robin Hood film coming, this time with Kingsman’s Taron Egerton and Jamie Foxx. Green Book and The Front Runner will also be expanding into more theaters (though the latter has made a paltry $162,169 in two weeks) and we’ll have the first numbers for Yorgos Lanthimos’s The Favourite.
[box office figures via Box Office Mojo]