FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE SECRETS OF DUMBLEDORE captured the weekend by grossing $43m. This is the fourth consecutive weekend that featured an opening title with a gross of $30M or more, only the second time that this feat has been achieved since COVID-19 broke in North America in March 2020. This is yet another indicator that moviegoing is gaining momentum and the industry is well along on the road to recovery.
However, Warner Bros. may be disappointed with the results since this weekend’s opening of THE SECRETS OF DUMBLEDORE is the lowest of all the three films in J.K. Rowling’s wildly successful HARRY POTTER spin-off series. In 2016, FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM opened to a three-day total of $74M. Two years later in 2018, FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD conjured up $62M in its debut. Both films went on to impressive grosses of $234M and $160M respectively. Experts are now predicting that THE SECRETS OF DUMBLEDORE will wind up its run with a total box office of $120M.
These movies are laden with special effects and therefore are extremely costly to produce, with the budget on this latest version reported to be $200M. While the average total gross for the FANTASTIC BEASTS series may come in at $170M, the average total gross for the eight HARRY POTTER movies was $299M. With these prequels grossing less and less with each new chapter, it may become untenable for WB to continue its investment in this series. The FANTASTIC BEASTS series may have arrived at its endpoint, but with Hollywood, it might be wise to never say never.
Finishing second was SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 2 with $30 in its second weekend, a drop of 58% from its debut. SONIC’s ten-day gross now stands at $120M, and it seems likely that it will continue to produce good results for several weeks to come. FATHER STU was the other new wide release title, starring Mark Walberg in the true story of Father Stuart Long. It grossed $5.7M for the three-day weekend and $8M for the five days since its Wednesday opening, putting it in fifth place on the weekend box office charts.
Critics panned the movie by giving it a 41% Fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes, but the paying public was more positive, rating it with a 95% RT audience score. A positive audience rating may translate into solid results for several weeks to come, allowing Wahlberg to recoup at least some of the millions that he invested personally in the project, which took six years to make.
After adding up the grosses for all films this weekend, it is expected that it will come in at 97% when compared to the same weekend in 2019.