Opening Weekend For ‘Grindelwald’ Is Box Office Underwhelmus

There was both good and bad news for Warner Brothers’ expensive fantasy Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald this weekend at the North America box office. The good news is that the film had no problem capturing the number one spot, easily surpassing the moderate openings for fellow newcomers Instant Family and Widows. The bad news is that the opening was anything but ‘fantastic.’

With franchise fatigue setting in after only two films, The Crimes of Grindelwald opened on 4,163 screens this weekend to earn an estimated $62.2 million. That’s 17% lower than its 2016 predecessor, Fantastic Beasts and How To Find Them, which scored $74 million in its first three days. The opening for the $200 million Grindelwald is also the lowest debut for any film associated with the Harry Potter brand name.

Along with a decrease of interest, bad reviews did little to sway newcomers to the sequel. While the reviews for the first Fantastic Beasts were respectable, the ones for Grindelwald were anything but. The film scored a dire 40% approval on Rotten Tomatoes and a middling-at-best 53/100 on Metacritic. Even diehard Potter fans were mixed on the new Newt Scamander adventure. They gave FB2 a “B+” on CinemaScore.

The news was a little better for The Crimes of Grindelwald on the international front.The film opened in 79 international markets this weekend and wound up beating the foreign start for the first Fantastic Beasts by a small percentage. Grindelwald conjured up a magical $191 million internationally. This included $37 million from China, $12 million from both Germany and Russia and $11 million from France.

Last week’s number one film, Universal’s The Grinch, held up well against the arrival of Grindelwald. The animated comedy lost a moderate 44% of its opening weekend crowd to deliver an estimated $38.2 million in its sophomore session on 4,141 screens. The ten-day total for The Grinch is $126.5 million.

While Ralph Breaks the Internet will eat into The Grinch’s momentum starting Tuesday night, the Universal release should have no problem pushing its way to a merry $200 million for a domestic finale.Internationally, The Grinch has earned $25 million so far.

Still rocking in third place was Fox’s Bohemian Rhapsody, which scored an estimated $15.7 million from 3,810 theaters in its third weekend. Down 50% from last week, Rhapsody has earned a great $128 million so far and should conclude its box office tour with roughly $175 million. Bohemian Rhapsody’s international tour has earned a melodic $256 million so far.

In fourth place with a mild $14.7 million from 3,286 screens was Paramount’s Instant Family. The Mark Whalberg/Rose Byrne feature earned a solid 81% approval from critics on Rotten Tomatoes and a 58/100 on Metacritic. The $48 million production also earned an “A” on CinemaScore, which should help bring in the crowds throughout the upcoming holiday week.

Rounding out the top five was the acclaimed Fox drama Widows with an estimated $12.3 million from 2,803 theaters. The latest film from 12 Years a Slave director Steve McQueen earned excellent reviews from critics -a 91% on Rotten Tomatoes and an 86/100 on Metacritic- but mixed notices from ticket buyers. They gave Widows a “B” on CinemaScore.

  1.  The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (Disney) $4.7 million (-54%); $43.8 million
  2.  A Star is Born (2018) (Warner) $4.3 million (-46%); $186 million
  3.  Overlord (Paramount) $3.8 million (-62%); $17.7 million
  4.  The Girl in the Spider’s Web (Sony) $2.5 million (-68%); $13.2 million
  5.  Nobody’s Fool (2018) (Paramount) $2.2 million (-66%); $29 million

Thanksgiving week brings four new films into wide release starting on Wednesday: Creed 2, Ralph Breaks the Internet, a new version of Robin Hood and the acclaimed drama Green Book, which platforms into 1,000 theaters after opening in a handful of theaters this past Friday. Watch for Ralph and Creed 2 to knock out the competition.  

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

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