Between the years 2001 and 2011, the Harry Potter film franchise was a genuine cash cow for Warner Bros., as the eight installments collectively grossed $7.7 billion worldwide at the box office. It shouldn't come as any surprise then, that the studio would be interested in keeping the property going. This fall, J.K. Rowling's wizarding world returns to the big screen in the spinoff Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which stars Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander, the one responsible for penning a textbook students at Hogwarts will eventually study.
Harry Potter mania is already back in full force with the premiere of the stage play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (which was accompanied by the publishing of the script), and the arrival of Fantastic Beasts will only continue this renaissance. WB has a lot riding on the success of this new film, as they've already singled out release dates for two sequels. Fortunately for them, Fantastic Beasts is poised to become a box office hit.
Per USA Today, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them tops the poll of most anticipated fall 2016 movies. There were 1,000 moviegoers surveyed, with "fall" being defined as releases from September through Thanksgiving weekend. This means that works such as Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Passengers, and La La Land were ineligible.
Rounding out the top five are Antoine Fuqua's Western remake The Magnificent Seven, Marvel's Doctor Strange, the Emily Blunt thriller The Girl on the Train, and Disney Animation's Moana. Of these titles, Girl on the Train may be the biggest surprise, but the novel on which it is based was a best-seller and proved to be popular with readers, so there is interest in seeing it translated for the screen. Girl on the Train has been compared to David Fincher's Gone Girl, which grossed $167.7 million domestically in 2014, meaning there is an audience for this material. It's also interesting to note that two of the top five are Disney projects, suggesting that the Mouse House will only add to their already record shattering numbers.
The back half of the lists primarily consists of vehicles for established stars. Bridget Jones' Baby (which sees Renee Zellweger and Colin Firth reunite) ranks sixth. The Ben Affleck-starring crime drama The Accountant comes in seventh, while Tom Cruise's action sequel Jack Reacher: Never Go Back is in eighth. Ron Howard's Dan Brown adaptation Inferno, which once again features Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon, was ninth in the poll. Capping things off was Kevin Hart's comedy show Kevin Hart: What Now? All of these films have garnered attention due to the talent attached, and considering word-of-mouth is strong, each one should be able to parlay that into solid box office returns. Veterans such as Cruise and Hanks remain bankable after decades of acting, and Affleck is firmly entrenched on the A-list after turning his career around.
Of course, it should be said that placing on a list like this does not guarantee large financial gains. When 2016 began, perceived box office disappointments like Independence Day: Resurgence, Zoolander 2, Star Trek Beyond, and X-Men: Apocalypse were all voted in the top 10 most anticipated films of the year. Things can change between now and the time these movies premiere, and 1,000 is still a somewhat small sample size to get a read of the general population. There's a good chance most of these are successful, but some may struggle to find more widespread appeal.
Source: USA Today
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