Weekend Box Office (November 16 - 18, 2018)
THIS WEEKEND Two years ago this very weekend, the Fantastic Beasts franchise continued the magic of the Wizarding World with a $74.4M debut which came in below all past Harry Potter numbers. A smaller subset of the fan base came out, and now the second installment The Crimes of Grindelwald may suffer the same fate and see franchise fatigue kick in with some of that crowd taking a pass this time.
Few outside of fans of the brand will show up so there is no audience growth to capitalize upon. The one positive will be higher ticket prices, especially the many premium-priced options since this is a brand many fans feel is worth paying extra for. The marketing hype has been heavy and since the last pic did over $812M worldwide (71% from overseas markets), Grindelwald should also witness the bulk of grosses, maybe 70-75%, coming from offshore territories. A possible $200M domestic run could still be part of a global score of $750M or more for Warner Bros.
Johnny Depp has a bigger role this time, but reviews are worse and that will have a more significant impact on the PG-13 film's commercial viability. Also competition will be more fierce as the rest of the top ten grossed $72M for the first Beasts, but might hit around $115M this time. Debuting in 4,163 locations, The Crimes of Grindelwald could be in for a launch of around $66M. A monster global bow is assured with all countries except for Japan launching including a record 1,306 IMAX screens.
The action thriller Widows looks to score a solid debut with its starpower, strong reviews, and appeal to many demographic groups. Movies for grown-ups which deliver the goods have been faring well at the box office and attracting large crowds and this Fox release stands to be another hit for mature audiences. The R-rated film features a large cast including Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, and Liam Neeson. Entering 2,803 locations, Widows might take in around $18M this weekend.
Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne have many comedy hits under their belt. Now they join forces as a married couple in Instant Family, a PG-13 adoption tale aimed at a broad audience. Fans of the leads should make it out and reviews have been positive enough for this genre. Then it's up to WOM to carry it forward. Paramount has been giving a big push and an opening in 3,286 theaters could result in an opening weekend of around $17M.
The Grinch kicked off the start of a lucrative holiday run with a potent top spot bow last weekend. This time a 40% fall would be reasonable putting Universal at about $40M for the session pushing the cume up to $130M.
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Watch the trailer for The Secret Life of Pets.
LAST YEAR Coming in below expectations and failing to break the nine-digit mark, Justice League opened to $93.8M for Warner Bros. on its way to a $228.9M finish which shocked many in the industry given the value pack of super heroes it put up on the screen. Lionsgate had a winner with Wonder which bowed to $27.5M heading to a $132.2M final. Thor: Ragnarok dropped from first to third with $21.7M, Daddy's Home 2 claimed the number four spot with $14.4M and Murder on the Orient Express was close behind at $13.8M.
This column is updated three times each week: Thursday (upcoming weekend's summary), Sunday (post-weekend analysis with estimates), and Monday night (actuals). Opinions expressed in this column are those solely of the author.
Last Updated: November 15, 2018 at 4:15PM ET
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