‘Fantastic Beasts’ Sequel Is a Soft No. 1 at the Box Office

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‘Fantastic Beasts’ Sequel Is a Soft No. 1 at the Box Office

LOS ANGELES — For months, Warner Bros. marketers did everything they could to stir interest in “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald,” the second of the studio’s five lavish Harry Potter prequels. The hard sell appears to have worked overseas. But initial ticket sales were soft in the United States and Canada, where audiences are more susceptible to reviews.

And the reviews were sickly — the worst for J.K. Rowling’s movie-verse by far — potentially hurting the all-important Warner franchise going forward: When audiences feel let down by one chapter in a film series, it is harder to get them to care about the next one.

“The Crimes of Grindelwald” took in an estimated $62.2 million at 4,163 theaters in North America, about 16 percent less than “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” collected over its first three days in 2016. “The Crimes of Grindelwald” received a B-plus grade from ticket buyers in CinemaScore exit polls, down from an A for the previous installment.

[Read Manohla Dargis’s review of “The Crimes of Grindelwald”]

Overseas, the new movie rolled out in 79 markets and sold an estimated $191 million in tickets, a total that Warner described as “spectacular” in a statement on Sunday. Turnout in Russia was particularly strong, Warner said. Attendance at Imax theaters across the globe was also robust. Ron Sanders, the studio’s president of worldwide theatrical distribution and home entertainment, said that the film’s “very successful opening” set it up well to play “throughout the holiday season.”

“The Crimes of Grindelwald,” which cost roughly $200 million to make and $150 million to market worldwide, stars Eddie Redmayne and Johnny Depp, whose troubling offscreen behavior in recent years has cost him fans. David Yates directed the PG-13 film; Rowling wrote the screenplay.

Second and third place for the weekend in North America went to hold-over hits. “Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch” (Universal) had ticket sales of about $38.2 million, for a two-week domestic total of $126.5 million, according to Comscore, which compiles box-office data. The Freddie Mercury biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” (20th Century Fox) collected an estimated $15.7 million, for a three-week domestic total of $127.9 million and pushing worldwide ticket sales to nearly $400 million.

Two new wide-release movies had underwhelming starts in fourth and fifth place. “Instant Family” (Paramount), a well-reviewed PG-13 comedy staring Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne that cost roughly $48 million to make, sold an estimated $14.7 million in tickets. Steve McQueen’s R-rated crime thriller “Widows” (Fox), which also received mostly positive reviews, arrived to about $12.3 million in ticket sales. “Widows,” with a diverse ensemble cast led by Viola Davis, was independently financed for about $42 million.

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'Fantastic Beasts' Sequel Is A Soft No. 1 At The Box Office
'Fantastic Beasts' Sequel Is A Soft No. 1 At The Box Office
'Fantastic Beasts' Sequel Is A Soft No. 1 At The Box Office
'Fantastic Beasts' Sequel Is A Soft No. 1 At The Box Office
'Fantastic Beasts' Sequel Is A Soft No. 1 At The Box Office

'Fantastic Beasts' Sequel Is A Soft No. 1 At The Box Office

'Fantastic Beasts' Sequel Is A Soft No. 1 At The Box Office

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