“Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald,” a sequel from the world of Harry Potter, topped the weekend box office in North America, extending a strong year for Warner Bros.
“Grindelwald” — the second of five expected movies from the “Fantastic Beasts” series — took in $62.2 million in ticket sales, according to Comscore Inc.. That was in line with the forecast of about $63 million by Box Office Pro but trailed the $65 million predicted by Box Office Mojo.
The opening demonstrates the staying power of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter universe — a key franchise for AT&T Inc.’s Warner Bros. The first “Fantastic Beasts” movie, which also features Eddie Redmayne in the lead role, generated $74.4 million over its opening weekend in 2016. Even though it won the weekend, the film was dogged by mixed reviews. Rotten Tomatoes assigned it a rating of 40 percent, meaning the majority of critics didn’t recommend it.
The film cost the studio $200 million, before marketing costs, more than the $180 million spent on the previous movie, according to Box Office Mojo. With such a steep budget, the movie will need to lean on international sales to break even at the box office. Paramount Pictures’ “Instant Family,” one of the weekend’s other debuts, generated $14.7 million and placed fourth. That was a bit ahead of the forecast of $14 million by Box Office Pro.
The comedy, starring Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne, got mixed reviews. 20th Century Fox’s heist movie “Widows,” from Oscar nominated director Steve McQueen, placed fifth with $12.3 million, in line with Box Office Pro’s $12 million forecast. It scored better with critics, with 91 percent recommending the movie on Rotten Tomatoes, and has been cited as a possible Oscar contender.