‘Fantastic Beasts 3’ Opens To Franchise Low of $43M – Deadline

SUNDAY AM UPDATE:  If there’s still a five-picture plan in place for Fantastic Beasts, clearly after this weekend’s $43M opening for The Secrets of Dumbledore, it’s time to pivot the Harry Potter franchise. That’s the lowest opening ever stateside for a J.K. Rowling Wizarding World movie, and it’s probably not prudent for the studio to go for another low opening record on the next project from the franchise. It was evident Potter fans didn’t like the last movie, Crimes of Grindelwald, even if there was a cliffhanger, and they didn’t want to come back for Dumbledore. 

Warner Bros

With the Warner Bros.-Discovery merger made official on Wall Street earlier this week, this is unfortunately not the best optics for the studio. However, as CEO David Zaslav gets to know Hollywood, he should realize that sometimes greenlight decisions pre-date the studio’s current regime. Who would greenlight a $200M net production on a franchise that wasn’t working? The Fantastic Beasts movies were put into play by former Warner Bros. Entertainment CEO Kevin Tsujihara.

The continued production of these off-beat Potter canon movies are all about the studio’s commitment to their own George Lucas, meaning Rowling, and the further build-out of the Wizarding World which spans theme parks, stage shows, the set tours, etc.

The threequel’s production was pushed in 2019 so that the script could be developed more. However, as is the nature of bruised franchises at the box office, no matter how great a third installment could be conjured up, it’s hard to restore business after fans turn their backs on the previous movie.

Box Office: Top-Grossing Films In North America Since 1989

Former Warner Bros London-based Warner Bros. exec Josh Berger, who gets an EP credit here on Dumbledore, ran the Wizarding World franchise until roughly a year-and-a-half ago. WarnerMedia Studios and Network exec Ann Sarnoff took on that oversight. I understand she had no fingerprints on this threequel, nor could she put the brakes on it; again the threequel’s production monies were committed by a previous administration.

There are no immediate, concrete plans for the Harry Potter franchise. It was buzzed back in early 2021 that a Harry Potter spinoff series was being kicked around for HBO Max, but no writers were attached at the time. There isn’t a script in for a fourth Fantastic Beasts. If reality didn’t set in for Rowling on Grindelwald, or even the first Fantastic Beasts movie, it should set in now: The majority of your Potter fans do not want to see Fantastic Beasts. 

If there’s any positive takeaways from Dumbledore, they include that Warner Bros. distribution picked a holiday to launch the movie to get the biggest audience they could and its the biggest opening for a female-skewing property during the pandemic. Comscore/Screen Engine exits show 38% women over 25–the biggest demo for the pic, which is amazing for the pandemic, followed by 33% men over 25, 16% women under 25 and 13% men under 25. Women over 25 gave the threequel the best grades at 86% positive, followed by women under 25 at 83%.

Also worthy, Warners didn’t dilute grosses down here with a day-and-date HBO Max model; many believe this film can still clear $100M-plus domestic, and that’s great for the exhibition ecosphere.

And as far as HBO Max goes, the company likely looks forward to a possible uptick in subs when the film hits the service sometime around Memorial Day weekend. Of those who watched Dumbledore, 24% told PostTrak they’d watch the movie again in cinemas, 14% would see again for free at home, 13% would purchase it digitally at home, while a combined 21% would buy it on DVD or Blu-Ray.

The Batman

Warner Bros

Before The Batman hits HBO Max tomorrow, that pic in its first seven weekends has reaped $365M, and that’s something to shout about as studios shorten their windows coming out of the pandemic. The Matt Reeves-directed movie hits $750M worldwide this weekend.

Dumbledore‘s global is at $193M, and should settle around $400M. This is after a $71.7M international/$150.4M global opening weekend. Crimping global grosses for Dumbledore is the fact that the China market isn’t at its full power; you can blame closed theaters during Covid, or the country’s POV toward U.S. movies. China delivered the best grosses for the first Fantastic Beasts outside the U.S. with $85M, and the second best after Japan on Grindelwald with $57.3M.

iSpot shows that Warners did spend to open Dumbledore with close to $21M committed to U.S. TV Spots, versus Sony’s $8M on Father StuTV ad impressions for Dumbledore were 958M, with spots airing across NBC, ABC, CBS, TBS and Syfy network, during events like Men’s college basketball, Winter Olympics, NBA games and on shows like Good Morning America and Survivor.

Imax drove $4.275M of Dumbledore’s ticket sales this weekend or 10% of the box office. The Top 5 Domestic IMAX locations this weekend were AMC Lincoln Square NY, AMC Citywalk Stadium LA, AMC Metreon San Francisco, AMC Empire NY, and Cineplex Scotiabank Toronto. Around 32% of the threequel’s business came from Imax, PLF, Dolby and motion seating, again indicative that when people go to the movies, they want to see it in the best format.

The top 10 locations for Dumbledore were: 1. AMC Lincoln Square NY, 2. AMC Burbank, 3. AMC Disney Springs Orlando, 4. AMC Empire NY, 5. AMC Citywalk Stadium LA, 6. Cineplex Odeon Brossard Montreal, 7. AMC Century City LA, 8. Santikos Palladium San Antonio, 9. Larry Miller Jordan Commons Megaplex Salt Lake City, and 10. Regal Warren Oklahoma City. The pic’s top 10 markets were 1. Los Angeles, 2. New York, 3. Dallas, 4. San Francisco, 5. Salt Lake City, 6. Chicago, 7. Houston, 8. Seattle, 9. Phoenix, and 10. Washington DC.

We’re building the weekend box office chart:

1.) Fantastic Beasts…Dumbledore (WB), 4,208 theaters, Fri $20M, Sat $13.9M, Sun $9.1M, 3-day $43M/Wk 1

2.) Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Par) 4,258 theaters (+24), Fri $10.85M (-59%), Sat $11.6M, Sun $7.55M, 3-day $30M (-58%)/Total $119.6M/Wk 2

3.) The Lost City (Par) 3,430 (-367) theaters Fri. $2.07M (-20%), Sat $2.55M, Sun $1.9M, 3-day $6.5M (-28%)/Total $78.5M/ Wk 4

4.) Everything Everywhere All at Once (A24) 2,220 (+970) theaters, Fri $1.9M, Sat $2.4M, Sun $1.85M, 3-day $6.1M (+1%)/Total $17.7M/Wk 4
A fantastic hold here by the Daniels/AGBO movie. People are finding it, and I hear $20M is in store. May the riches reign upon the arthouses.

5.) Father Stu (Sony) 2,705 theaters, Fri $1.68M/Sat $2.2M, Sun $1.8M, 3-day $5.68M/Total $8M/Wk 1

6.) Morbius (Sony) 3,462 (-806) theaters, Fri $1.57M (-46%), Sat $1.98M, Sun $1.1M, 3-day $4.7M (-54%)/Total $65.1M/Wk 3

7.) Ambulance (Uni) 3,412 theaters, Fri $1.3M (-59%), Sat $1.6M, Sun $1.08M, 3-day $4.04M (-54%)/Total $15.6M/Wk 2

8.) The Batman(WB) 2,535 (-719) theaters Fri $1.3M (-28%), Sat $1.56M, Sun $940K,  3-day: $3.8M (-41%) Total $365M/Wk 7

9.) K.F.G. Chapter 2 (Sia) 510 theaters, Fri $527K Sat $573K, Sun $386K, 3-day $1.486M/Total $2.9M/Wk 1

10.) K.F.G. Chapter 2 (Viva, Hindi) 300 theaters $497K, Sat $518K, Sun $373K, 3-day $1.38M/Total $1.7M/Wk 1

SATURDAY AM UPDATE: Over what is typically a lucrative Easter box office weekend, there’s unfortunately no great rush stateside to Warner Bros.’ Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore which is heading toward an estimated $44.5M opening. Warners is seeing at least $40M with the potential for upside.

On the high side, that’s 27% off the $62.1M opening of the 2018 second movie The Crimes of Grindelwald, which already had an opening that was 17% off from the first 2016 installment. Yes, threequelitis, as expected has set in, but know that this Harry Potter spinoff franchise was always light in the canon. Fantastic Beasts was never tied to a long series of J.K. Rowling books which had a ferocious following; in sum it’s no surprise to see this type of opening; not to mention the threequel was conceived during pre-pandemic times. The greater play for the movie is abroad, and its global take is expected to reach $175M tomorrow.

Warner Bros

As we come out of the pandemic, and masks come off, there’s an eagerness to re-commune with those around us on a spring weekend. If any studio is going to put a movie on the marquee, it has to be something that we haven’t seen before, that’s truly worth leaving home for, and the 11th Wizarding World movie in 21 years feels like old hat, top to bottom. All of this despite having Dumbledore in the title, which connects the series in marketing materials distinctly to Harry Potter. CinemaScore here is a B+, same as Grindelwald. Comscore/Screen Engine PostTrak exits show 81% positive, 63% definite recommend, 4 stars. If consumers know they can see it on HBO Max in a month-and-a-half, well, then that’s a legit excuse to wait around for the movie in home. Yeah, yeah, there was the whole Rowling controversy over her transgender views, and the Johnny Depp firing, but typically the gravitas of tabloids doesn’t factor into joe moviegoer’s movie ticket buying decisions.

Social analytics firm RelishMix would disagree, seeing that the pic’s fans on social media are missing Depp as Grindelwald; the actor replaced by Mads Mikkelsen in the role.

Fantastic Beasts The Crimes Of Grindelwald

Warner Bros

RelishMix said that pre-weekend buzz on Dumbledore ran “intense and mixed, with loving enthusiasm for the franchise to questions about the chemistry of the cast. There were also countless references from fans and super-fans of Johnny Depp and his ‘cancellation’ — and how he’s ‘irreplaceable’. With the film open in the UK, Europe and China — spoiler alert warnings are abound with a range of response to relationships, deeps dives into the ‘Wizarding World’ and debates over the current Depp trial that’s concurrently underway.

How to revive the Harry Potter franchise? Rowling should write more books, and bring it back to the Potter characters we know. More books conceivably stoke the following, which in turn create more want-to-see when they hit the TV screen or theaters.

On the upside: A $45M opening weekend, after Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Morbius and Lost City‘s openings? Theater owners will take it; and there’s nothing to shed tears about. The economics of the IP are different from the economy of popcorn, and there’s a lot more movies coming down the pike to keep exhibition happy. Dumbledore is fueling a weekend where all movies will gross $111M, which is +2% from the third weekend in April 2019, which was an Easter holiday frame, and which saw Warner Bros. leading with The Curse of La Llorona which opened to $26.3M.

Another bragging point here for Dumbledore is that it’s the best start for a female-targeted movie during the pandemic, ahead of Lost City‘s $30.4M. The David Yates-directed threequel leaned 52% women on PostTrak, 70% over 25, and 57% between 18-34. CinemaScore measured 56% females. Per tracking, women, particularly the older demo, were hesitant to return to the movies during the pandemic, and here’s another title that’s spurring them to come back.

Diversity mix on Dumbledore was 44% Caucasian, 28% Latino and Hispanic, 10% Black and 18% Asian/other. Imax and PLF are driving close to 40% of all ticket sales to date for the weekend, with the West and the Southeast delivering. Dumbledore‘s Friday was $20M (that’s 1.5M moviegoers per EntTelligence), including $6M previews, which is 21% off of Grindelwald‘s opening day, EntTelligence reports that 26% of Dumbledore‘s audience came before 5PM, 44% came during the 5PM to 8PM dayparts, and 30% of patrons showed up after 8PM. Average ticket price was $12.86 to Father Stu‘s $10.87.

RelishMix measured that Dumbledore‘s social media universe reached 214.7M, under the awareness stats of Grindelwald back in November 2018, and trailing on social by 34% primarily with Facebook video views. The new installment includes a new push into TikTok with 3.2M video views and 3.1M views on Twitter. The campaign is stretching Warner’s YouTube muscles across international channels from Indonesia, Brazil, Ireland UK, Spain and more sectors with 125.1M views and strong viral reposting rate of 18:1.


A24 has jumped the theater count for Everything Everywhere All at Once up by 970 to 2,220. This is turning into a $5.1M fourth weekend, -15%, for an estimated running total of $16.6M by EOD Sunday. The movie made $1.9M yesterday. This is all reminiscent of A24’s 2015 spring hit Ex Machina. That sci-fi film broke 2,000 runs in its 5th weekend on a platform break. The Daniels directed, AGBO produced martial arts fantasy will be running 53% ahead of Ex Machina by the end of tomorrow. Can Everything Everywhere All at Once beat Ex Machina‘s $25.4M domestic gross?

Mark Wahlberg in 'Father Stu'

Columbia Pictures

Sony’s Mark Wahlberg R-rated priest drama Father Stu is coming in at the lower end of expectations with $7M over 5 days, not a grandiose start, especially for a Sony distributed faith-based movie. The pic’s 3-day looks to be around $4.7M in 5th place. The faithful did show up blessing Father Stu with an A CinemaScore, and 91% PostTrak and 76% recommend. Like a faith-based movie, women showed up at 56%, 40% over 55. Diversity demos were 61% Caucasian, 22% Latino and Hispanic, 4% Black and 13% Asian/other. However, unlike a faith-based film, the pic didn’t play in the Bible belt, rather Northwest, Midwest and South, appealing in blue collar markets. Top plays for Father Stu were in Phoenix, Sacramento, Minneapolis, Las Vegas Tampa, Detroit. Montana, interestingly enough, overindexed with the movie.


Industry estimates are noticing two prints for Sigaram Cinema and Viva Entertainment’s K.F.G. Chapter 2, one in Hindi, and another in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, and Malayalam, each respectively making between $1.4M-$1.5M each. These two titles are being separated on the chart rather than combined for a weekend total of roughly $3M. Sigaram has the Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, & Malayalam version booked in 510 theaters in 129 markets with solid runs in New York, Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco, Atlanta, Detroit and Phoenix. Viva’s Hindi print is playing at 300 runs in 114 markets with OK business in NYC, Dallas, San Francisco, Atlanta, however, Canada was big. The Prashanth Neel directed movie is 44% Rotten from nine reviews on Rotten Tomatoes.

1.) Fantastic Beasts…Dumbledore (WB), 4,208 theaters, Fri $20M, 3-day $40M-44.5M/Wk 1

2.) Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Par) 4,258 theaters (+24), Fri $10.85M (-59%), 3-day $26.5M (-63%)/Total $116.1M/Wk 2

3.) The Lost City (Par) 3,430 (-367) theaters Fri. $2.07M (-20%), 3-day $5.85M (-35%)/Total $77.9M/ Wk 4

4.) Everything Everywhere All at Once (A24) 2,220 (+970) theaters, Fri $1.9M, 3-day $5.1M (-15%)/Total $16.6M/Wk 4

5.) Father Stu (Sony) 2,705 theaters, Fri $1.64M/3-day $4.7M/Total $7M/Wk 1

6.) Morbius (Sony) 3,462 (-806) theaters, Fri $1.57M (-46%), 3-day $4.2M (-59%)/Total $64.6M/Wk 3

7.) Ambulance (Uni) 3,412 theaters, Fri $1.3M (-59%), 3-day $3.7M (-57%)/Total $15.3M/Wk 2

8.) The Batman(WB) 2,535 (-719) theaters Fri $1.28M (-28%), 3-day: $3.5M (-46%) Total $364.7M/Wk 7

9.) K.F.G. Chapter 2 (Viva, Hindi) 300 theaters $495K, 3-day $1.52M/Total $1.85M/Wk 1

10.) K.F.G. Chapter 2 (Sia) 510 theaters, Fri $522K, 3-day $1.44M/Total $2.8M/Wk 1

FRIDAY AM UPDATE: Warner Bros.’ Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore whirled up $6M in Thursday previews that started at 2 p.m. at 3,350 venues.

The David Yates-directed movie co-scripted by J.K. Rowling is expected to make $45M-$50M over the Easter holiday weekend stateside, with 73% of all K-12 schools off today, according to Comscore. Dumbledore also is expanding into 44 more offshore markets including France, Italy and Korea and looks to make at least $40M abroad, bringing the threequel’s global take to $157M by Sunday. Already, Dumbledore‘s first week overseas, including LatAM, Italy, and France debuts, stands at $97M. Rotten Tomatoes critics gave Dumbledore a 51% Rotten ratingm which is an improvement on the 36% Rotten for 2018’s Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald but way off the 2016 first movie’s 74% fresh.

‘Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore’ Review: Mads Mikkelsen Is A Malevolent But Charismatic Villain In Emotional Third Installment

That figure is under the preview grosses of the first Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which made $8.75M (before a $29.7M first Friday and $74.4M opening) and its 2018 sequel, which did $7.3M in its Thursday alone (not counting the sequel’s earlier-week $1.8M previews). Grindelwald posted a $25.4M Friday and $62.1M three-day. At the same time, in regards to pure Thursday previews, Dumbledore is ahead of the $5M made by Paramount’s Sonic the Hedgehog 2 last week.

The other wide release this weekend is Sony’s Mark Wahlberg priest drama, Father Stuwhich did an estimated $765K Thursday at 2,705 theaters, -51% from its $1.55M Wednesday (which included previews), ranking fifth for the day. Outlook this weekend for the R-rated film, which is 45% Rotten, is between $7M-$10M.

‘Father Stu’ Review: Mark Wahlberg Inspires In True Faith-Based Story

Sonic the Hedgehog 2

‘Sonic the Hedgehog 2’

Among films already in release, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 ends its first week with an estimated $89.6M at 4,234 locations, 12% ahead of its 2020 first installment’s first week. Thursday rang up $4.4M, +22% over Wednesday.

‘Sonic The Hedgehog 2’ Review: Overlong Insta-Sequel Provides Plenty Of Frenetic Action For Franchise Fans

Sigaram Cinema’s K.F.G. Chapter 2 from filmmaker Prashanth Neel racked up an estimated $1.4M on Thursday at 510 locations. Logline: In the blood-soaked Kolar Gold Fields, Rocky’s name strikes fear into his foes. While his allies look up to him, the government sees him as a threat to law and order. Rocky must battle threats from all sides for unchallenged supremacy.

Paramount’s The Lost City,booked at 3,797, saw an estimated $907K yesterday, +22% over Wednesday, in third place for a running total through week 3 of $72M.

Sony’s Morbius earned $808K at 4,268 sites, +8% over Wednesday for a running total through Week 2 of $60.4M.

A24’s Everything Everywhere All at Once at 1,250 locations made $751K, +4% over Wednesday, for a running three week total of $11.4M.

Universal/Endeavor Content’s Ambulance ended its first week with $11.6M at 3,412 after a $638K Thursday, +1% from Wednesday.

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