‘Fantastic Beasts’ Set for Big Box Office Debut, But How Big?

Estimates for “Harry Potter” spinoff range from $70 million to north of $90 million

Last Updated: November 15, 2016 @ 5:00 PM

Box office predictions for “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” are all over the place as the hotly anticipated “Harry Potter” spinoff movie finally hits theaters this weekend.

All predictions are high, but some trackers are saying the film will debut north of $80 million. Others are pegging its three-day opening at higher than $90 million. Meanwhile Warner Bros. is expecting it’ll safety land above $70 million.

Whatever the movie’s opening gross, the numbers are clearly in favor of the film, which was produced for a reported $180 million — especially considering its international opening, expected to bring in more than $100 million across 80 markets.

“Fantastic Beasts” opens in China the following weekend, where “Harry Potter” movies have always performed strongly, and is set to open on more than 4,000 screens domestically, with a glowing 94 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

The film will cast a big shadow over the weekend’s other new wide releases, which are still managing to shape up nicely for the most part.

Following up its hit comedy “Bad Moms,” STX’s coming-of-age dramedy “The Edge of Seventeen” should open to roughly $10 million. That’s a solid number for the warmly-reviewed film, which was made for $9 million and stars Hailee Steinfeld as a curmudgeonly high schooler with a sharp wit. Marking the directorial debut of Kelly Fremon Craig, the film has critics comparing it to John Hughes classics “The Breakfast Club” and “Sixteen Candles,” netting it a 90 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

“The Edge of Seventeen” also stars Woody Harrelson and Kyra Sedgwick, and is set to play on more than 1,900 screens.

Open Road’s boxing drama “Bleed for This” is set to gross roughly $6 million from more than 2,000 screens. It stars Miles Teller and Aaron Eckhart, and currently enjoys a solid 71 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

Tri-Star drama “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk,” distributed by Sony, expands into 1,100 theaters this weekend following a mostly sold-out limited Los Angeles and New York opening. Ang Lee’s high-tech film, shot at 120 frames per second, hasn’t gotten great reviews, currently sitting at 41 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s expected to gross roughly $5 million.

However, it’s not all bad news for the film as it made $11.8 million in China last weekend.

Returning to “Fantastic Beasts,” given its new story and timeline within J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world, the title has been something of a box office question mark — especially in predicting how it will stack up against the “Harry Potter” movies. “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” opened to $77.1 million in 2007 and “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” bowed to $77.8 million in 2009.

By comparison, the biggest debut of the original series came in 2011 with “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2,” which grossed $169.2 million on its opening and went on to earn $1.34 billion worldwide to become the eighth highest grossing film of all time, just behind 2015’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron.”

“Fantastic Beasts,” directed by David Yates, will expand from a three-movie franchise to five, author and screenwriter Rowling announced last month.

Set in the same universe as “Harry Potter,” the inaugural “Fantastic Beasts” movie takes place in 1920s New York and stars Eddie Redmayne as a British “magizoologist” named Newt Scamander who travels across the pond to hunt for magical creatures.

Some characters from the “Harry Potter” films will be featured in the new movie, including Aldus Dumbledore, Grendel and Gellert Grindelwald.

Newt arrives in New York as Percival Graves (Colin Farrell) investigates a collapsed building destroyed by a magical creature. The film opens with several newspaper headlines about Grindelwald attacking wizards.

Farrell and Redmayne are joined onscreen by Katherine Waterston, Jon Voight, Ezra Miller, Zoe Kravitz, Samantha Morton, Dan Fogler and Alison Sudol.

Yates directed the last four “Harry Potter” films.

The already green-lit second film in the “Fantastic Beasts” series will be set in another major world city with different magical creatures.

“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” is based on the Rowling book of the same name, which was a mock textbook about magical creatures. In the “Harry Potter” series, the book is required reading for Hogwarts students.

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