“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” is on track to open to a lofty $75 million when it hits U.S. theaters next month.
The “Harry Potter” spinoff stars Eddie Redmayne (“The Theory of Everything”), and, though set in the world of Hogwarts, tells an entirely different story. There’s no appearance from a certain bespectacled wizard. The relative novelty of the characters and the five-year absence since the past “Potter” film has meant that Warner Bros. has had to re-introduce the project to audiences. That’s why the picture’s opening pales in comparison to the $169.2 million kickoff of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2,” the most recent film in the wizarding franchise.
The studio has confidence in the series, though. Warner Bros. has already announced that it plans to make five films in the “Fantastic Beasts” series. It’s also possible that the opening weekend box office projection will rise as the ad campaign kicks into full force and reviews hit.
“Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling wrote the screenplay for the film. David Yates, who helmed several previous “Potter” adventures, returns as the director to oversee a cast that includes Katherine Waterston, Ezra Miller, and Colin Farrell. The film centers on Newt Scamander, an author of magical textbooks who ventures to 1920s New York in order to discover supernatural creatures.
“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” opens domestically on Nov. 18, which should position it nicely to take advantage of the Thanksgiving holiday the following week. The film scored a release in China on Nov. 25, which should add tens of millions to its box office revenues. China is the world’s second-largest film market.