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Fantastic Beasts 3 Struggles At The Box Office, Sets Opening Weekend Low For The Wizarding World

Mads Mikkelsen as Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts The Secrets Of Dumbledore
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

In the box office world, everything is relative. If a movie makes $30 million in its opening weekend, it's a huge success if the film was made for just $5 million – but it's an utter disaster if it was made for $150 million. Looking at the theatrical returns for David Yates' Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore, this is an important thing to keep in mind. 

The early numbers show that the blockbuster had the fourth biggest debut of 2022 thus far, which looks good on paper... but those results are colored by the fact that it is far and away the worst start for any title part of the Wizarding World franchise. Take a look at the full Top 10 below, and join me for analysis.

Weekend Box Office Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore Weekend Box Office April 15-17, 2022

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

TITLEWEEKEND GROSSDOMESTIC GROSSLWTHTRS
1. Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore*$43,000,000 $43,000,000 4,208
2. Sonic The Hedgehog 2$30,000,000 $119,612,388 14,258
3. The Lost City$6,500,000 $78,575,759 33,430
4. Everything Everywhere All At Once$6,187,118 $17,696,059 62,220
5. Father Stu*$5,700,000 $8,027,097 2,705
6. Morbius$4,700,000 $65,118,131 23,462
7. Ambulance$4,040,000 $15,649,040 43,412
8. The Batman$3,800,000 $365,035,121 52,535
9. Uncharted$1,170,000 $144,985,555 71,311
10. Spider-Man: No Way Home$200,000 $804,220,052 9387

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald Is The Number One Movie, But The Results Aren't Great

Between 2001 and 2011, the Harry Potter series proved to be a consistent slam dunk for Warner Bros., each title earning an average of $103 million in its first three days. The Fantastic Beasts movies, on the other hand, have not experienced anywhere near that kind of success.  When David Yates' Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them debuted domestically in 2016, the $74.4 million it made was a new low for the franchise, and things haven't exactly gotten better since then.

Released in 2018, Yates' Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald made just $62.2 million in its first Friday-to-Sunday in the United States and Canada, and now we have the follow-up, Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore, which only managed to bring in $43 million over the last three days.

In a time when theaters are very much relying on tentpole releases and blockbusters to keep audiences excited and buying tickets en masse, the latest chapter from the Wizarding World didn't manage to fully deliver. It outperformed Daniel Espinosa's Morbius and Aaron and Adam Nee's The Lost City, but to refer back to my point in the opening paragraph, both of those movies were made with reported budgets around $75 million, and Variety reports that Fantastic Beasts 3 cost $200 million to make.

This decline comes despite the fact that Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore got a more positive response from critics and better pre-release buzz compared to its predecessor. That being said, the difference between it and Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald on Rotten Tomatoes is the distance between 48 percent and 36 percent – both grades considered "Rotten" by the review aggregator.

The cast of Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Clearly things don't look great for Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore on the home front, but what may ultimately save the future of the series and the Wizarding World on the big screen is the response that the sequel has gotten overseas. The movies in the vast Harry Potter franchise have always done better in foreign markets than at home (at least 67 percent of total grosses for every release have come from outside the United States and Canada), and that is continuing to hold true with the latest film.

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore premiered in a number of markets last weekend prior to its domestic debut, and after two weekends its worldwide gross stands at $193.4 million. That equates to 77.8 percent of grosses coming from abroad, which inches upwards from the 75.5 percent split for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald and the 71.2 percent for Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them.

Where this leaves the future of the Fantastic Beasts series is a big question mark. According to Variety, Warner Bros. executives are waiting on box office returns for The Secrets Of Dumbledore before making the decision whether or not to give the green light to the two sequels that are planned to conclude the spinoff series, and it's hard to say at this point if these numbers will ultimately inspire enough studio confidence in the material to keep the story going. 

Mark Wahlberg's Father Stu Finds The Middle Of The Box Office Chart In Its Debut

At the very least, Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore didn't embarrassment of opening in second place – but there was no real chance of that given Rosalind Ross's Father Stu was the blockbuster's only competition as far as new releases go. The Mark Wahlberg movie earned middling reviews early in the week, and got a jump start by opening on Wednesday instead of Friday, but still it only managed to make a total of $8 million in its first few days of release.

The R-rated faith-based feature surely couldn't have cost that much to produce (obviously nowhere near the price tag of Fantastic Beasts 3), but considering that Mark Wahlberg invested millions of his own money in the venture, I'm willing to guess that the results aren't exactly what the all of the filmmakers behind the project were hoping for.

Everything Everywhere All At Once Continues To Climb The Charts

Arguably the most exciting story developing in the box office world right now is what's going on with Daniels' Everything Everywhere All At Once, the multiverse comedy/drama/action/sci-fi movie starring Michelle Yeoh. The feature was given a limited release last month from A24, and it has been spreading into more and more theaters ever since. As I noted in last Sunday's box office column, the film expanded into wide release on April 8, and made $6.1 million in its first three days. This weekend, the title expanded into 970 more locations, and it has climbed from sixth place to fourth place as a result.

The $6.2 million that the acclaimed film has brought in since Friday brings its domestic gross up to $17.7 million, and the remarkable buzz that the movie has earned could mean that number will continue to rise steeply in the coming weeks. Everything Everywhere All At Once is now ranked as the tenth highest grossing title in A24's history, having now surpassed the $17.2 million that was earned by David Lowery's The Green Knight last summer. (Josh and Benny Safdie's Uncut Gems holds the top spot, having made $50 million in 2019.)

Looking ahead to next week, there will be a lot of eyes on the second weekend performance of Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore, and it will have some interesting competition in the form of Robert Eggers' The Northman and Pierre Perifel's The Bad Guys. I'll have the full run down of the box office new for you here on CinemaBlend next Sunday, and between now and then you can check out our 2022 Movie Release Calendar to plan out all of your own movie-going plans for the coming months.

Eric Eisenberg
Eric Eisenberg

NJ native who calls LA home; lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran; endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.