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Box office hits and misses: ‘Fantastic Beasts’ claws past ‘Doctor Strange’

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Image used with permission by copyright holder
It was a fantastic weekend for J.K. Rowling’s screenwriting debut, with her Harry Potter prequel film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them raking in more than $75 million for a not-too-shabby premiere that also ended the two-week reign of Marvel’s Doctor Strange atop the domestic box-office charts.

The opening weekend for Fantastic Beasts ranked behind the premieres of all eight original Harry Potter films, but the film’s debut numbers were still good enough for tenth place among the year’s biggest opening weekends in U.S. theaters (ranking just behind Zootopia and just ahead of X-Men: Apocalypse). Given the positive reviews the film is receiving from professional critics and general audiences, it certainly looks like Rowling and director David Yates’ return to the wizarding world doesn’t need Harry Potter to succeed in a big way.

Although Doctor Strange fell out of the top spot domestically, the Marvel movie is still enjoying a very healthy run overseas and has already moved past fellow Marvel movie Guardians of the Galaxy and Warner Bros. Pictures’ Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice in China, the second largest market in the world. The film currently ranks tenth among the 14 movies in Marvel’s cinematic universe in both domestic and worldwide ticket sales.

# Title Weekend U.S. Total Worldwide Total
1. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them $75M $75M $218.3M
2. Doctor Strange $17.6M $181.5M $571.5M
3. Trolls $17.5M $116.2M $261.3M
4. Arrival $11.8M $43.3M $54.2M
5. Almost Christmas $7M $25.4M $25.4M
6. Hacksaw Ridge $6.7M $42.8M $42.8M
7. The Edge of Seventeen $4.8M $4.8M $4.8M
8. Bleed For This $2.3M $2.3M $2.3M
9. The Accountant $2.1M $81.2M $138.5M
10. Shut In $1.6M $6M $6M

The only other new releases to make it into the weekend’s top ten films were the coming-of-age comedy The Edge of Seventeen and the boxing drama Bleed For This, which both under performed expectations by finishing in seventh and eighth place, respectively.

The upcoming holiday weekend offers a mixed bag, with a little something for every sort of theater outing. Along with Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard’s war drama Allied, there’s also the next Disney animated feature Moana (featuring the voice of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and music from Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda) and the raunchy comedy sequel Bad Santa 2. Disney’s animated movie is expected to be the big winner for the weekend, but Fantastic Beasts is also expected to hold strong for a good second weekend in theaters.

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Rick Marshall
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