Its been 15 years since the first movie in the Harry Potter franchise was released, and after eight films following the rise of the young wizard, the series is going all the way back to 1926 to tell the story of a young Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne). Despite not having the Harry Potter branding in the title, fans of the lore and the films are anxiously waiting to see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them this weekend.
Based on the history of the franchise, Warner Bros. has been expecting their latest franchise – which will now run for five movies in total – to make them a fair share of money. Estimates earlier this week pegged the film to gross over $200 million worldwide in its first weekend, but that number should be rising with the latest tracking showing a sizable jump domestically.
Box Office Mojo is reporting that Fantastic Beasts is currently tracking very well and is now expected to gross more than $90 million domestically over the weekend. A few weeks back the number to be had was $75 million, and that stayed seemingly the same with a $70-80 million range reported earlier this week. This should be just another indication that the film will do just fine at the box office, not only this weekend, but for the next few weeks.
The Harry Potter brand is without a doubt playing a part in generating interest in Fantastic Beasts, but the film on its own has done the same. Reviews for the movie have so far been mostly positive (it is already certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes), and talk of the future for these characters and the universe have only further increased the buzz.
If Fantastic Beasts does meet the latest projections, it will have the fourth or fifth best opening domestically. While it should have no problem clearing Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix ($77.1M) and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince ($77.8M), its final landing place will depend greatly on the final numbers. If it dips under the most recent expectations, then it could find itself with the sixth best opening behind Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets ($88.4M). However, if it exceeds expectations, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone ($90.3M) and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban ($93.7M) could potentially be topped.
Fantastic Beasts surely won’t be the biggest opening in franchise history, but this would be a terrific start for the new franchise. They clearly have big plans in store, as evident by Johnny Depp’s casting and a young Dumbledore appearing in the sequel, so this opening should lay the foundation for bigger things next time around.