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The era of the Harry Potter films may be over and done with, but fans of the Wizarding World are still packing theater seats for J.K. Rowling's Fantastic Beastsspin-off. The new series' sequel, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, saw a successful preview night on Thursday evening, with an estimated $9.1 million head start to a jackpot weekend, sure to entice some cute nifflers on its trail.
These early numbers, including sneak showings in 600 locations on Tuesday, pave the way for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald to clear a strong $70 million opening weekend domestically, according to Deadline. Big earnings for the franchise's sequel puts the film on top, even with the title sharing an opening with Steve McQueen's Widows and Mark Wahlberg-lead comedy Instant Family. Considering the pop culture phenomenon Harry Potter was, are we surprised?
Crimes of Grindelwald picks up months after the shocking events of 2016's Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which revealed Johnny Depp to be the main villain of the franchise, as dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald. While the 2016 release attempted to get fans invested into a world without any of the familiar and beloved characters of the Harry Potter films, this sequel connects them by introducing Jude Law as a young Albus Dumbledore. The imaginative film also includes the characters introduced in its predecessor, including Newt (Eddie Redmayne), Tina (Katherine Waterston), Jacob (Dan Fogler), Queenie (Alison Sudol) and Credence (Ezra Miller). The film also introduces plenty of new characters, including Newt's brother Theseus (Callum Turner), Leta Lestrange (Zoe Kravitz) and Nagini (Claudia Kim).
While early tracking had Crimes of Grindelwald earning around $65 million this weekend, more recent estimates have jumped to $75 million, with room to exceed expectations. These numbers are on par with 2016's Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them which made $74 million during its opening weekend. In the broader scope of all the Wizarding World films, these numbers don't match the Harry Potter films. The first Fantastic Beasts film made the lowest figures for the World, with a total gross $234 million domestically.
Crimes of Grindelwald is also low on the list as far as critical acclaim goes, as the film has the lowest Rotten Tomatoes score in the Wizarding World, currently sitting at 44%. Reviews reflected this score, as the film received some middle-of-the-road praise. As found in the high preview night numbers, this likely won't affect the success of Crimes of Grindelwald.
In comparison, crime-drama Widows starring Viola Davis made $600K on Thursday night with an expected $15 to $20 million opening weekend. Heartwarming comedy Instant Family took home similar numbers, reportedly making $550K and also expected to make between $15 to $20 million this weekend. The two titles join Crimes of Grindelwald, playing in theaters everywhere now.