The Harry Potter spinoff prequel Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them is definitely going to win the weekend. But the question is, how big could it go? Well, unlike the Harry Potter series, this is not based on a globally best selling book, but rather riding the coattails of a globally best selling book. It lacks the films original stars and characters, and as such, shouldn’t have the same sort of push to see this film immediately on opening day. So far, it has been getting great reviews, and I’m kinda using 75M as a “low end” worst case scenario prediction. I think the stellar reviews, if it continues to hold, will push it into the 80M range. But if the film starts slipping into the 70’s or 80’s on Rotten Tomatoes, it’ll likely just hold here. The original franchise didn’t start with bankable stars either, so pointing out that Eddie Redmayne, while fairly well-known, does not open movies is a null point. This is all about Harry Potter and JK’s Wizarding World, and while the film will open below that series, it could have strong legs that will make it a very successful hit anyway. The next big event film isn’t until December when Star Wars Rogue One arrives, and Doctor Strange is heading into its third frame. Unless Moana gains Frozen-like traction, Fantastic Beasts is on track to possibly 300M.
Also opening this weekend, Miles Teller’s bid for an Oscar, Bleed For This, where he plays a real life boxer fighting against all odds. While Teller’s performance has been praised, the film has been met with mixed results, leading to a 68% on Rotten Tomatoes. This isn’t exactly the kind of critical reception you’d hope for from an Oscar bait film, andd Bleed For This is going to struggle in just 1500 screens this week. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk is expanding into 1100 screens, after having posted the third best per screen average opening weekend of the year. That should do well, but not explosively well, because it actually has a rotten score of 48%. It’s hard to take an Oscar bait film seriously when it can’t even land a marginally positive score like Bleed For This did.
Of the holdovers, some people are predicting Doctor Strange and Trolls to crash this weekend, but I’m not. Especially Trolls. You could say that Fantastic Beasts is aiming for kids, but I think Trolls is aiming for little kids specifically. I think there’s a market for Trolls that Fantastic Beasts isn’t tapping into. Beasts might be great for the 7+ crowd, but for 6-under, I’m betting Trolls is still the top choice for parents.
The bigger question is how will Arrival’s B cinemascore factor into its second weekend? This is a film that seems to have divided critics and general audiences. It might see a harsher drop of 45% because of it. Almost Christmas and Hacksaw Ridge are both expected to continue to play well.
1) Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them- 75M Weekend, 75M Total
2) Doctor Strange- 25M Weekend, 188M Total
3) Trolls- 21M Weekend, 119M Total
4) Arrival- 13M Weekend, 44M Total
5) Almost Christmas- 9M Weekend, 27M Total
6) Hacksaw Ridge- 6.5M Weekend, 42M Total
7) Bleed For This- 5M Weekend, 5M Total
8) Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk- 5M Weekend, 5M Total
9) The Accountant- 2.5M Weekend, 81M Total
10) Boo! A Madea Halloween- 2M Weekend, 73M Total