Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is projected to have the lowest opening weekend in the Wizarding World franchise. Ever since the first Harry Potter movie premiered in 2001, the property has proven to be a box office juggernaut, cumulatively grossing $8.5 billion worldwide. Considering how popular the brand is, it wasn't all that surprising when Warner Bros. announced plans to produce a spinoff series, which draws its title from one of Harry's Hogwarts textbooks. Released in 2016, the first Fantastic Beasts film earned $814 million globally, assuring that the followups would happen.
The first of four announced sequels, The Crimes of Grindelwald, comes out this weekend, hoping to be one of the first big hits of the 2018 holiday season. Audiences haven't had a new high-profile franchise tentpole to check out since Venom back in early October, so it seems as if the latest Fantastic Beasts is poised to have a lucrative run. That should be the case, but perhaps things aren't going to go as smoothly as WB is hoping.
According to Box Office Pro, The Crimes of Grindelwald is projected to make approximately $65 million domestically in its first three days. The outlet notes that figure could go as high as $70 million, but in either case, this would be an all-time franchise low. The original Fantastic Beasts made $74.4 million during its opening weekend two Novembers ago.
The most likely culprit for this discrepancy is the critical reception. Whereas Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was met with generally positive reviews, Crimes of Grindelwald is the lowest rated Wizarding World installment according to Rotten Tomatoes. People feel the film is plagued by its wanting to set up the future entries, as opposed to telling an entertaining story that stands on its own merits. Additionally, the casting of Johnny Depp (and all the personal baggage that comes with him) as main antagonist Grindelwald was a very controversial decision, which upset vocal corners of the fan base. All in all, Crimes of Grindelwald hasn't generated much positive press, which apparently is hurting its commercial prospects. It'll be interesting to see how the sequel holds up over the course of its run. Films like Ralph Breaks the Internet and Creed II will be vying for viewers over Thanksgiving, so Grindelwald might struggle to stand out.
For this week at least, The Crimes of Grindelwald will have the benefit of facing minimal competition. The weekend's other wide releases, Instant Family and Widows, aren't expected to pose much of a challenge, with the former projected for $18 million and the latter estimated at $14.5 million. Both received positive reviews (in Widows' case, widespread acclaim), but they'll have to settle for being counter-programming to the latest Hollywood blockbuster. The rest of the top five should see holdovers The Grinch and Bohemian Rhapsody continue their fruitful runs.
Source: Box Office Pro
- Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald/Fantastic Beasts 2 (2018) release date: Nov 16, 2018