Box Office

Weekend BO Predictions: Poor Reviews Won’t Stop ‘Fantastic Beasts 2’s Magical $70m Opening

Written by Dapo Olowu

It’s a weekend of four wide releases, but only one will bewitch the Box Office. ‘Fantastic Beasts 2’, part of the ever-growing Wizarding World by J.K. Rowling, returns exactly two years after its predecessor opened to a stunning $74.4m. The Warner Bros. production sees the return of its all-star cast, including Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander alongside Katherine Waterston, Ezra Miller, Zoë Kravitz, and Dan Fogler. The biggest news, however, lies with the newer recruits.

While the introduction of a young Dumbledore (Jude Law) will surely boost fan anticipation, the controversial addition of Johnny Depp’s Grindelwald could polarize a fair few. It’s a casting that’s already left some fans scratching their heads as to why Colin Farrell (from the first film) and a little hair bleach wasn’t deemed adequate enough by studio execs. Depp’s recent troubles have been well-publicised, but the 3-time Oscar nominee was still seen as a big enough star to warrant being cast.

Regardless, we can’t underestimate the loyalty of Harry Potter fans. Depp or no Depp, we expect the Potterheads to be out in their droves for this one, even with it being the first of the ‘HP/Wizarding World’ franchise to hold a rotten (44%) rating on the Tomatometer. A magical $71m domestic opening is likely, and with WB pushing this out to over 70 international markets, don’t be surprised to see the film get close to a spellbinding $300m worldwide by Sunday night.

Trailing in its wake is ‘The Grinch’s second weekend, which will put up a strong fight against its child-friendly rival ‘Fantastic Beasts 2’ with around $40m. By Saturday, the film will sit on a $100m+ domestic haul, outpacing the likes of the other Illumination-Seuss release ‘The Lorax’.

Now here’s a shock: Steve McQueen’s critically-acclaimed ‘Widows’ looks to suffer a loss against the surprise package of the weekend, Mark Wahlberg’s PG-13 comedy ‘Instant Family’. Directed by Sean Anders, the man behind Wahlberg’s previous festive comedies ‘Daddy’s Home’ and ‘Daddy’s Home 2’, ‘Instant Family’ won’t touch their $30m openings, but a $17m start puts it on-par with this year’s ‘Life of the Party’ ($17.9m) and ‘I Feel Pretty’ ($16m).

Instant Family’ follows Pete (Wahlberg) and Ellie (Rose Byrne), who decide to adopt three siblings at the same time. The movie’s a relative hit with critics, holding a strong 74% on the Tomatometer and 58 on Metacritic. All looks good for the comedy, although an inflated $48m budget may threaten hopes of pre-digital release profitability.

Steve McQueen’s ‘Widows’, on the other hand, is being tipped for award season success, and stars Viola Davis, Elizabeth Debicki, Daniel Kaluuya, Brian Tyree Henry, Colin Farrell, and Liam Neeson (alongside many, many others). Its all-star cast also saw a writing team composed of McQueen, previously of ’12 Years a Slave’ and ‘Shame’, and Gillian Flynn (‘Gone Girl’).

The R-rated crime-thriller, based on the 1983 TV show of the same name, sees a group of widowed women attempt to pull off a heist in order to repay a debt owed by their dead husbands.

Opening in just 2,800 cinemas may be a slight hinderance, especially in comparison to ‘Instant Family’s 3,300 and ‘Fantastic Beasts 2’s 4,200, but never discredit the allure of great film-making in the Box Office; ‘BlacKkKlansman’ opened to over $10m from just 1,500 cinemas in the summer. A $16m-ish opening will suit the $42m-budget ‘Widows’, which hopes to keep up a strong run in upcoming weeks.

The final release of the weekend sees biographical drama ‘A Private War, starring Rosamund Pike, Jamie Dornan, and Stanley Tucci open into 870 cinemas in its third weekend. It may not enter the top ten with a $900k weekend, but can take solace in strong reception within the festival-circuit and in theatrical release.  

With Thanksgiving weekend on the horizon, which of these films will need a holiday weekend the most? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter and Instagram – we’re at @JUMPCUT_ONLINE.

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