It should be a magical time at the box office this weekend, as the second installment of the Fantastic Beasts franchise enters the pre-Christmas fray.
Fantastic Beasts 2: The Crimes of Grindelwald is the sequel to the reasonably successful 2016 film., Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them. You may think it’s funny to refer to a film that made $814 million around the world as “reasonably” successful, but the truth is, that sort of money is far off from the grosses of the final few Harry Potter films, even with an original J.K. Rowling story and director David Yates involved. This time out, the franchise has to deal with some of the backlash of having Johnny Depp involved. Depp’s star power and reputation are from its peak, thanks to his divorce from Amber Heard and his various financial entanglement. His presence in the film is going to be a turn off for some adults, who likely will keep their families from it as well. Further to that, the original film didn’t quite capture the imagination of audiences the way the original Harry Potter saga did, and I think you’ll see that reflected in the box office numbers. And finally, reviews have been awful, with the film currently sitting at 47% at Rotten Tomatoes. That is not a good number at all. Look for a first place debut for Fantastic Beasts 2 with $66 million.
As for the rest of the top five, Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch will settle for second place this weekend, and should look to bring in $40 million. It will be the only family competition for Fantastic Beasts 2, and I think it’s going to be the stronger pick over the coming weeks.
New release Instant Family, starring Rose Byrne and Mark Wahlberg as a couple that adopt three children, will debut in third place with $18 million. Right behind it will be Bohemian Rhapsody in fourth, with $17.5 million. Finally, the new Steve McQueen film Widows, co-written by McQueen and Gillian Flynn and starring Viola Davis and Liam Neeson, should appeal to the adult audience who have already seen the Queen film, and debut strongly in fifth place with $16 million.
So, to recap, here are our predictions:
1) Fantastic Beasts 2: The Crimes of Grindelwald – $66 million
2) Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch – $40 million
3) Instant Family – $18 million
4) Bohemian Rhapsody – $17.5 million
5) Widows – $16 million
Be sure to check back on Sunday to see how the weekend turns out!