As expected, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald earned the lowest opening weekend in the history of the Harry Potter film franchise. Warner Bros. struck a gold mine when they adapted J.K. Rowling's immensely popular books for the big screen, releasing eight highly-successful films over the course of a decade. Always on the lookout for a hit, the studio decided to forge ahead with a spinoff/prequel series, and the first Fantastic Beasts movie premiered a couple years ago. It was well-received critically (though not as beloved as the mainline series) and grossed $814 million globally. As such, planned sequels were green lit.
Though Crimes of Grindelwald represents the return of one of pop culture's most prominent properties, there wasn't much fan fare surrounding its debut. Some of that stems from lukewarm reactions to the original Fantastic Beasts, and there's also been a considerable amount of controversy in regards to the film's casting of Johnny Depp and handing of pre-established Harry Potter canon. Despite all that, it was essentially a guarantee Crime of Grindelwald would win the box office in its first weekend. However, there was some question as to how much it would make, and WB could be facing some trouble.
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According to Box Office Mojo, Crimes of Grindelwald grossed $62.2 million in its first three days domestically. That is by far the lowest opening in the Wizarding World franchise, trailing the first Fantastic Beasts' $74.4 million. Grindelwald's figures are also well below the starts for Venom ($80.2 million), Ant-Man and the Wasp ($75.8 million), and even infamous flop Solo: A Star Wars Story ($84.4 million).
It should be noted that it's not all doom and gloom for Grindelwald. Budgeted at $200 million, the film has already surpassed its production costs at the worldwide box office. Globally, the film has earned $253.2 million, meaning it needs to make approximately $146.8 million more over the duration of its run in order to break even. There are more high-profile offerings on the horizon for this week (Ralph Breaks the Internet and Creed II among them), but this should be an easy goal for Fantastic Beasts to accomplish. Unless its legs are very weak and it takes a substantial dip in its second weekend (which is possible), the sequel is poised to turn a profit for the studio. How sizable that profit is remains to be seen.
While The Crimes of Grindelwald should be a box office success, these results illustrate the filmmakers may need to do some retooling for the future installments. Grindelwald also has the worst reviews in the franchise, and even those who are lifelong Potter fans feel like these movies are becoming a chore to sit through. There's concern in some circles that the Fantastic Beasts movie arc is too thin to support a five-part saga, and if the third film turns out similarly to the second, the numbers may continue to go down. Everyone involved in the property needs to do what they can to make the next one a marked improvement so Fantastic Beasts can return the Wizarding World to its prior glory.
Source: Box Office Mojo
- Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald/Fantastic Beasts 2 (2018) release date: Nov 16, 2018