It may not have been the best weekend at the box office for anything other than Warner Bros.’ new venture into the world of J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World with Fantastic Beast and Where To Find Them, starring Eddie Redmayne, Dan Fogler, Kathryn Waterston, Alison Sobel, Ezra Miller and Colin Farrell, which opened with an estimated $75 million over the weekend in North America alone.
It grossed $8.8 million in Thursday previews, which contributed to its $29.7 million Friday when it expanded into 4,144 theaters. That $75 million opening is lower than the North American opening of every single previous “Harry Potter” movie including Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, which opened on a Wednesday. $8 million of that domestic gross was made in the movie’s release into 388 IMAX theaters in North America.
Overseas, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them grossed an astounding $143 million in 63 markets with record openings in 11 markets. In the UK, it grossed $18.3 million, which is more than all but the Deadly Hallows installments. Korea accounted for $14.4 million, Warner Bros.’ third-biggest opening in the country. Germany did $9.9 million, while France did $9.7 million.
Either way, that’s an impressive $218 million global opening for Fantastic Beasts without China or Japan, where it opens next week. $7 million of Fantastic Beasts‘ international gross came from its 276 IMAX theaters overseas for a $15 million global IMAX opening.
After two weeks at #1, Walt Disney Pictures and Marvel Studios‘ Doctor Strange, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, dropped to second place, adding another $17.7 million in its third weekend and down 59% from last week. That brings its domestic total to $181.5 million. Internationally, Doctor Strange added another $26 million this weekend to bring its global take to $571.5 million.
DreamWorks Animation and 20th Century Fox’s Trolls took third place with $17.5 million, pushing it across the $100 million milestone with $116.3 million grossed domestically so far. In its sixth weekend in international release, Trolls earned $11.4 million in 66 markets to brings its international gross to $145.1 million and total global gross to $261.4 million.
In fourth place, Paramount’s sci-fi drama Arrival, starring Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner, grossed $11.8 million, down 51% from its opening weekend to bring its domestic gross to $43 million so far.
The ensemble holiday comedy Almost Christmas (Universal) dropped to fifth place with roughly $7 million, down 53% as it brings its total domestic gross to $25.4 million.
Mel Gibson’s Hacksaw Ridge (Lionsgate), starring Andrew Garfield, brought in $6.8 million to take sixth place with $42.8 million grossed domestically.
Kelly Fremon Craig’s directorial debut The Edge of Seventeen (STX Entertainment), starring Hailee Steinfeld, Woody Harrelson, Blake Jenner and Haley Lu Richardson, opened in seventh place with $4.8 million in 1,945 theaters, less than $2,500 per theater.
It still did better than Ben Younger’s boxing drama Bleed for This (Open Road), starring Miles Teller as boxer Vinny Paz, which bombed even worse by taking in just $2.3 million in 1,549 theaters, or $1,485 per theater.
Ang Lee’s adaptation of Ben Fountain’s novel Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, starring Joe Alwyn, Kristen Stewart, Chris Tucker, Garrett Hedlund, Vin Diesel, and Steve Martin, expanded into 1,176 theaters across North America following its two-theater release in a higher 120 FP frame rate in NY and LA last weekend. Without it, the war drama became one of Sony’s biggest bombs in recent years, bringing in just $933,000, less than $800 per theater, putting it well outside the Top 10. Apparently, even with a two-time Oscar winner at the helm and two seemingly reliable box office stars in Stewart and Diesel, this will likely be one of the most expensive bombs of the year.
Expanding to 650 theaters on Friday, Barry Jenkins’ acclaimed Moonlight (A24) brought in another $1.6 million, bringing its total to $6.7 million, although its $2,436 per theater doesn’t bode well for much further expansion unless it starts earning some expected award nominations. It also fell just outside the Top 10, bumped by EuraCorp’s Shut-In in its second weekend.
After premiering at the Sundance Film Festival, Kenneth Lonergan’s Manchester by the Sea (Amazon/Roadside Attractions), starring Casey Affleck (who has already been earmarked for an Oscar nomination), Lucas Hedges, Michelle Williams and Kyle Chandler, opened in four theaters in New York and LA where it grossed $241,230, or $60,308 per theater. That’s the highest per-theater average for a Roadside Attractions release in its 13-year history
Fashion icon turned filmmaker Tom Ford’s thriller Nocturnal Animals (Focus Features), also starring Amy Adams with Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Shannon, opened in 37 theaters Friday and grossed $494,000, or $13,351 per site.