On November 18, we’ll be seeing the grand return of the Wizarding World to the silver screen with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. While it certainly feels like it’s been a long time since another one of these films has graced theaters, it’s really only been five years — and considering we’ve had a steady stream of content from J.K. Rowling in the years since then, it’s not as though we’ve been deprived. Regardless, fans have been anxious to see this film come to fruition ever since it was announced a couple years back, and if there wasn’t enough excitement surrounding it, fans will also be able to purchase the complete screenplay from J.K. Rowling as well.
So where does all this excitement lead us? In the age of superheroes — an age the likes of Harry Potter never really had a chance to compete with — what will a new Wizarding World film make at the box office on its opening weekend? Well, as expected, the flick isn’t tracking to measure up to the most profitable of Harry Potter films, and is only looking to make a domestic cume of around $75 million in its first weekend, Variety reports.
How does this number compare to the Harry Potter films? Let’s take a look (via Box Office Mojo):
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone - $90 million
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - $88 million
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - $93 million
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - $102 million
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - $77 million
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - $77 million
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 - $125 million
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 - $169 million
As you can see, Fantastic Beasts’ predicted opening weekend falls short of even the least successful of the openings of this series.
While this film is set in the same world as Harry Potter, it has the distinct disadvantage of being an original film set in this world, and as such, there will be no (or few) characters for J.K. Rowling fans to rush out and see, nor will there be fans wondering how the filmmakers will execute specific plot moments. It sounds trivial, but those hardcore readers certainly make up a large portion of fans.
Warner Bros. are smart, so they aren’t necessarily expecting to come out super strong right out of the gate, as they realize the difficult job this re-introduction will be. Should the film live up to expectations, it will have good legs in the successive weeks — especially since it won’t have any real competition until four full weeks later when Rogue One: A Star Wars Story hits theaters. Additionally, if this film manages to perform well critically, the real benefits will be reaped when the second film comes out.
The only potential downer here comes in the form of the budget. The movie is expensive. $225 million — only $25 million short of the mammothly expensive Batman v Superman. If we’re to utilize basic (and admittedly reductive) math to figure out about how much this film would need to be profitable, taking into account marketing and the money the studio shares with the theater chains, we’d end up with around $675 million-plus, which is no small feat. Yet, if there was a franchise that could do it, it’s probably this one.
Again, should this film at least get close to that — AND do well among critics and fans — there’s the chance Warner Bros. will eat the loss in hopes of making it up in later films.
But don't let my negative spin on this mislead you. $75 million is a solid opening for almost any movie, so long as it doesn't absolutely tank in the weeks following, and given the track record of this franchise and J.K. Rowling's strong brand, I have faith this one will ultimately come out on top.
What do you think of a $75 million opening for Fantastic Beasts? Let us know down below!
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them hits theaters on November 18, 2016.