Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald may match its predecessor during its opening weekend at the box office. Considering how popular the Harry Potter films were, it wasn't a surprise when Warner Bros. announced a prequel series, which began with the original Fantastic Beasts in 2016. While that film was the lowest-grossing of all the Wizarding World installments to date, it still went down as a commercial success, earning $234 million domestically and $814 million worldwide. As such, WB moved forward with the planned sequels.
The first of those projects, The Crimes of Grindelwald, debuts in mid-November and the studio has gradually been generating hype for it with a visible marketing campaign. Given the franchise connections and sizable built-in audience, Crimes of Grindelwald should be a big hit in its own right, and some fans are probably curious to see how its performance compares to the first film. If these latest projections are correct, WB will be quite pleased.
Deadline reports Crimes of Grindelwald is currently projected to earn between $65-75 million domestically in its first three days. Should it hit the high end of these estimates, it could equal or surpass the first Fantastic Beasts' opening weekend of $74.4 million.
The Crimes of Grindelwald seems well-positioned to be a sizable draw. Its release isn't for another three weeks (as of this writing), meaning plenty of time will have passed since Venom and Halloween debuted. Those films dominated the multiplex throughout October, breaking and challenging all-time records as they opened to huge weekends. By the time Newt Scamander returns to the big screen, there will likely be a growing demand for a fresh tentpole. Crimes of Grindelwald also isn't facing much in the way of direct competition when it premieres, as heist thriller Widows and comedy Instant Family aren't expected to pose a serious challenge. Both should appeal to their respective target audiences, but they won't be able to contend with a Harry Potter prequel.
WB's latest would-be blockbuster looks to be in good shape right now, but things can change over the next few weeks. Word-of-mouth could influence the actual box office numbers, and there's also the Johnny Depp factor. Due to his personal history, the actor's casting as main villain Grindelwald is highly controversial, with many fans expressing their displeasure with the decision. The backlash may have a negative impact on The Crimes of Grindelwald, though it's worth remembering that fans don't affect the box office as much as they think they do. In all likelihood, this will go down as one of 2018's biggest hits.
- Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald/Fantastic Beasts 2 (2018) release date: Nov 16, 2018