Warner Bros. Harry Potter universe spinoff Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald hit tracking this morning with agencies seeing an opening range between $65M-$75M. Remember these projections can change wildly before opening day. No one saw Halloween opening at $76.2M four weeks out. Grindelwald opens on Nov. 16.
First choice we’re informed is stronger than most films on tracking with an overall 13% four weeks out, with women overall strong (16%) followed by men over 25 (12%). While the first movie in Nov. 2016 repped the lowest three-day domestic opening in the J.K. Rowling Warner Bros. canon with $74.4M, the pic legged out abroad scoring $580M, repping 71% of its $814M haul. Overseas once again will be the big sell here for Grindelwald. Fantastic Beasts off a $325M estimated production cost and P&A global launch turned around a near $165M profit.
While there was an effort by Warners and Rowling on Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them to set it apart from the Harry Potter franchise during its first go-round, that’s not the case here: All marketing materials for the sequel are making connections to the Potter universe with shots of Hogwarts in the trailer, Jude Law as a young Albus Dumbledore and Johnny Depp as Gellert Grindelwald, a notorious dark wizard who makes a big splash here. The added advantage that the sequel has over the 2016 movie is that simply it’s a sequel. The IP has already established itself as being a cousin to Harry Potter, and fans have caught up with the movie in its home entertainment after life. Hopefully that impacts the sequel’s stateside start for the better. Fantastic Beasts is based on the fictitious textbook in the Potter mythology which is penned by Eddie Redmayne’s protagonist, Newt Scamander. Director David Yates, and producer David Heyman, who’ve long steered the Potter franchise together since 2007’s Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, are back again here with Grindelwald. Each sequel takes place in a different city around the globe. The first one took place in New York, and Grindelwald is set in London.
Also opening on Nov. 16 is Fox/New Regency/See-Saw’s socio-political heist movie Widows from Steve McQueen which has been making the fall film festival rounds at TIFF and London Film Festival. The movie, starring an ensemble cast that includes Viola Davis, Robert Duvall, Liam Neeson, Colin Farrell, Michelle Rodriguez and Brian Tyree Henry is being forecasted between $10M-$16M. Ditto for Paramount’s Mark Wahlberg-Rose Byrne PG-13 pic Instant Family.