Here it is the end of last weekend and the immediate beginning of a new one as the Thanksgiving stretch officially starts tomorrow night at 7 PM with a fresh crop of new releases hitting the multiplex.
Sources aren’t doubting that Disney’s new princess Moana might rain on Fantastic Beasts’ parade, winning the five-day away from Warner Bros.’ Harry Potter spinoff with a take that’s in the $75M-$80M range, though Disney would be content if she catches a wave that’s north of $70M at 3,800 locations, 80% in 3D. That’s a great rebound for Disney in the wake of last year’s Pixar turkey The Good Dinosaur, which made $55.4M over five days off a production budget of $175M-$200M.
Moana, directed by Ron Clements and John Musker, follows a Pacific Island teenager who, in an effort to turn the bad fortune her Oceania island is weathering, seeks demigod Maui (Dwayne Johnson) to right the ancient wrongs he has done and put the angry ocean spirit at peace. An added bonus for Moana is that Lin-Manuel Miranda, the multi-Tony-winning creator of Hamilton, penned a number of songs. He’s been hitting the Disney Instagram account during the past month performing various songs from the animation studio’s songbook. Three-day is around $50M for Moana. Estimated production costs are $150M.
Today Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them already has collected $3M and is on its way to a Monday that’s in the high single digits. Some of our sources on Friday wondered whether the $74.4M domestic start was enough for the first of five films in this stand-alone J.K. Rowling cinema franchise, particularly one with a production cost between $180M-$200M. However, Beasts, together with its amazing $145.5M overseas opening (an envy of many foreign distribs) has close to a $220M global debut, and that’s definitely good enough. Many expect its Wednesday-Sunday take to reap between $65M-$75M with a $37M-$40M FSS.
As Nancy Tartaglione observed in her coverage, the London play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child along with the Universal Hollywood parks opening of new Wizarding World of Harry Potter have further energized the devoted fan base for Fantastic Beasts, even though they were not part of the tentpole’s marketing strategy. Stateside, a $74.4M opening for a live-action family title is something to take note of. It’s a tough space, with Disney largely dominating this arena. Fantastic Beasts is connected to the Harry Potter universe with mentions of characters, symbols, wands, Hogwarts, etc; in fact, it’s inspired by the young Harry’s textbook. However, marketing identified this as a new Rowling property in the author’s “Wizarding World” with brand-new characters, and didn’t asset out the Potter mythology in its materials to the max — which could explain why to a certain degree Beasts is the lowest FSS of any Harry Potter title (RelishMix reported that heading into the weekend some folks online couldn’t distinguish Beasts’ connection to Potter).
Then again, Fantastic Beasts was really the only title that people cared about at the box office this weekend, repping 47% of the weekend’s total $157.6M tickets sales, further taking the wind out of plenty of pics’ sails (STX’s potty teenage girl comedy The Edge of Seventeen mistakenly went against Fantastic Beasts and is paying the price with a low opening of $4.75M). Beasts’ A CinemaScore and 90% PostTrak Positive score indicates fans have embraced this new chapter.
There’s another set of estimates that believes that Moana and Fantastic Beasts come nose-to-nose with each other at $75M over five days. Right now Moana has 100% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. After Moana gets into a trident fight with Fantastic Beasts, those left are a trio of largely adult-skewing titles.
The Brad Pitt-Marion Cotillard World War II spy thriller Allied, from Paramount and GK Films, is expected to rake in mid-teens over three days and a low $20M over five at 3,000 locations. Shot in London and the Canary Islands, the production cost before P&A on this Robert Zemeckis-directed title is $85M. Allied is battling a current Rotten Tomatoes score of 58%.
Broad Green’s release of Miramax’s Bad Santa 2 is the one that could surprise and potentially overtake Allied on a five-day basis. Its range for that span is $15M-$20M, per industry estimates, and it is a sequel to a cult classic that’s been 13 years in the waiting; the original launched over Thanksgiving in 2003 and earned $60M stateside and $76M worldwide off a $23M budget. Billy Bob Thornton returns as the alcoholic man in the red suit in 2,500-2,800 theaters. Broad Green and Miramax co-financed the sequel for an estimated $26M.
Lastly, there’s 20th Century Fox’s release of Regency’s Warren Beatty comedy Rules Don’t Apply. It stars the future young Han Solo, Alden Ehrenreich, and Lily Collins as burgeoning young adults in 1950s Tinseltown. He’s a driver for Beatty’s eccentric Howard Hughes, and she’s a wannabe starlet and songwriter. Financed by various individuals and RatPac for an estimated $25M, it’s a distribution deal for Fox, with the 68% Rotten Tomatoes scored movie heading to a mid- to high-single digit opening over five days, $3M-$4M over three in an estimated 2,400 theaters. Rules Don’t Apply has been a passion project of Beatty’s for decades, and it marks his return behind the camera since 1998’s political comedy Bulworth.
Below are the weekend actuals from ComScore for the period of Nov. 18-20:
- Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them (WB), $74,403,387, 4,144 locations, $17,954 average, $74,403,387, 1 week.
- Doctor Strange (Disney) $17,761,060, 3,694 locations, $4,808 average, $181,627,937, 3 weeks.
- Trolls (DWA/Fox), $17,448,673, 3,945 locations, $4,423 average, $116,163,206, 3 weeks.
- Arrival (Par), $12,138,671, 2,335 locations, $5,199 average, $43,709,470, 2 weeks.
- Almost Christmas (UNI), $7,256,950, 2,379 locations, $3,050 average, $25,637,690, 2 weeks.
- Hacksaw Ridge (Lionsgate) $6,666,920, 2,883 locations, $2,312 average, $42,771,212, 3 weeks.
- Edge Of Seventeen (STX), $4,754,215, 1,945 locations, $2,444 average, $4,754,215, 1 week.
- Bleed For This (OR) $2,366,810, 1,549 locations, $1,528 average, $2,366,810, 1 week.
- The Accountant (WB)., $2,156,421, 1,423 locations, $1,515 average, $81,293,439, 6 weeks.
- Shut In (Euro), $1,605,648, 2,006 locations, $800 average, $6,042,293, 2 weeks.
- Moonlight (A24), $1,488,740, 650 locations, $2,290 average, $6,644,790, 5 weeks.
- Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween (Lionsgate) $1,141,538, 1,171 locations, $975 average, $72,134,359, 5 weeks.
- Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (Par) $988,286, 1,110 locations, $890 average, $56,657,471, 5 weeks.
- Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (Sony) $901,062, 1,176 locations, $766 average, $1,057,673, 2 weeks.
- Loving (Focus) $869,430, 137 locations, $6,346 average, $1,752,518, 3 weeks.
- Inferno (Sony) $664,301, 770 locations, $863 average, $33,397,774, 4 weeks.
- Girl On The Train (Uni), $588,440, 492 locations, $1,196 average, $74,469,545, 7 weeks.
- Nocturnal Animals (Foc), $492,648, 37 locations, $13,315 average, $492,648, 1 week.
- Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (Fox), $375,818, 464 locations, $810 average, $85,763,459, 8 weeks.
- Ouija: Origin Of Evil (Uni) $303,855, 381 locations, $798 average, $34,904,885, 5 weeks.