Fantastic Beasts 3 Doesn’t Enchant Box Office With $40 Million Opening

The early box office estimates for Warner Bros.’ “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore” aren’t encouraging for the future of the “Harry Potter” spinoff series, with an opening day total of $20 million from 4,208 theaters and an estimated $40 million opening weekend.

While industry estimates have the film potentially stretching to $44 million, which would equal what Sony’s “Uncharted” opened to in February, “Fantastic Beasts 3” had double the reported production budget at around $200 million. More importantly, the estimated opening is substantially down from the $62 million opening of “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’ in 2018, which itself was down from the $74 million launch of the first “Fantastic Beasts” in 2016.

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Reception for “The Secrets of Dumbledore” is somewhat better than it was for “Crimes of Grindelwald” with Rotten Tomatoes scores of 49% critics and 84% audience — compared to 36%/54% for “Grindelwald” — while matching the predecessor’s B+ grade on CinemaScore and earning 4/5 on Comscore/Screen Engine’s PostTrak. But with a trio of well-reviewed films coming next weekend, led by Universal/DreamWorks’ “The Bad Guys” and a new Marvel movie coming in May, the box office outlook is bleak for the Wizarding World.

In second on the charts is Paramount’s “Sonic the Hedgehog 2,” which is dropping 63% from its $72 million opening for an estimated second weekend total of $26.5 million. That’s a total nearly identical to the $26.3 million second weekend for the first “Sonic” in 2020. The sequel is now estimated to earn a 10-day total of $116 million, roughly 7.5% ahead of the total for its predecessor.

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Fellow Paramount release “The Lost City” is in third with an estimated $5.8 million in its fourth weekend, giving it a total of just under $78 million. A24/AGBO’s “Everything Everywhere All at Once” makes its Top 5 debut next, expanding to 2,220 theaters to take $1.9 million on Friday and an estimated weekend total of $4.7 million with a $16.2 million overall total.

Completing the Top 5 is Sony’s “Father Stu,” a true story faith-based film starring Mark Wahlberg that is tied for fourth with “Everything Everywhere All at Once” with $4.7 million grossed over three days. Sony released the film in 2,705 theaters on Wednesday, with the film estimated to match studio projections of a $7 million five-day opening. While critics weren’t enthused with a 41% Rotten Tomatoes score, “Father Stu” has won over Christian audiences with an A on CinemaScore and a 5/5 PostTrak rating.

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