Warner Bros. Pictures’ “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald,” the second of five films in the “Harry Potter” spin-off series, conjured a $9.1 million haul on Thursday night in North America. That’s above the $8.8 million generated from the early previews for the first film “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” in 2016.
The film has previously been projected to earn $65 million in its opening weekend, but industry estimates suggest that number could be closer to $75 million and as much as $250 million worldwide by the end of Sunday. The first film ultimately grossed $814 million worldwide by the end of its theatrical run.
The big numbers come despite the film scoring a woeful 46% Rotten Tomatoes rating, yet another major tentpole that has opened this year to big numbers despite poor critical reviews including “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Venom,” “The Nun” and “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom”.
“The Grinch” is expected to come in second with a further $30 million or so. Also opening this week are “Widows” and “Instant Family” with both taking in around $600,000 each in Thursday previews and both are on track for debuts in the $12-18 million range – fighting with the ongoing success of “Bohemian Rhapsody” for third.