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Weekend Box Office: Fantastic Beasts Slays Competition As Bleed For This, Edge of Seventeen Struggle

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By Chris Kavan - 11/20/16 at 08:03 PM CT

It was a fantastic weekend... for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. If you happened to be any of the other wide-opening (or expanding) films, well, let's just agree it was a weekend to forget. Bleed for This, Edge of Seventeen and Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk all came in well under expectations - and it led to a 10% decline compared to the same weekend last year (when The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 was blowing up theaters). Still, things looks to rebound over the long Thanksgiving holiday, especially with Disney's latest, Moana, entering the fray.


There was little surprise as to the number one film of the weekend. The latest Wizarding World entry, J.K. Rowling and David Yates once again teamed up to bring us the first in an expected five films in a new franchise, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Eddie Redmayne headlined the film as the magician with a case full of magical creatures, several of whom get released in a 1920s-era New York City, Newt Scamander. The film opened to $75 million ($8.25 million in IMAX alone). Now, while that result is certainly impressive, some might say for a Harry Potter film (even a spinoff), it is a bit below expectations. The audience and critics were happy enough - getting an "A" Cinemascore, but that audience was decidedly older with 55% coming in over the age of 35 and only 18% coming in under 18. What this means is that people who grew up with Harry Potter were happy to turn out, but new fans weren't as numerous. Granted, I also think this movie targeted an older audience as well - but the numbers could have been a little better. In any case, the $180 million film has a ways to go stateside, but it is doing marvelous internationally where it has already earned $143.3 million - including record openings for the Potter Universe films in 11 territories including South Korea, Russia and Brazil. Even if the film opened lower than any of the previous Harry Potter films, it's going to do just fine. We'll have to see how it stands up to competition, but $200 million is a safe bet, with a good chance for it to go higher.


As one wizard giveth, another is taken away. Doctor Strange had an excellent second-week hold, but up against another wizard, his streak didn't stay so hot. Doctor Strange dropped nearly 59% in its third weekend - the second-worst third-week drop out of any Marvel film (Thor: The Dark World dipped 61.2$), earning another $17.67 million for a new total of $181.5 million. Its total is just ahead of both Ant-Man ($180.2 million) and Thor ($181 million). Worldwide, it is sitting at $572 million - rapidly closing in on Iron Man ($585 million) to become the best "origin" hero film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It currently sits 9th on the 2016 worldwide list. It should continue to play well enough - also looking to top $200 million domestically.


Also taking a somewhat larger-than-expected drop over the weekend was the animated Trolls. Taking a 50% hits, Trolls came in just behind Doctor Strange with a $17.5 million weekend, raising its total to $116.2 million. That meant it crossed the $100 million mark in the process, though it is looking like the film is now on a downward trajectory. It will likely cross $125 million, even in the face of Moana, but I'm guessing that may be its last big milestone before leaving theaters.


The sci-fi drama dipped 51% in its second week, adding $11.8 million to its total, which now stands at $43.3 million. It is rapidly approaching its $47 million budget. It seems that most of these adult-targeting dramas can only last a few weeks before either being replaced or simply running their course. Arrival looks to be no exception - surely it will top $50 million, but I'm guessing that's about as high as it's going to get. For me, this is clearly a more streaming option in the future rather than a must-see in the theaters. And that's the case for so many fall films.


Rounding out the top five was the holiday dysfunctional family comedy Almost Christmas. Dropping 53.5% (seeing a pattern yet?), the comedy added $7.04 million to its total, which now stands at $25.4 million. Given the film carries just a $17 million price tag, that's looking pretty good for the ensemble case as well as for director David E. Talbert. This one should benefit from the upcoming holiday frame and stick around for a little longer, but I'm guessing diminishing returns will hold this well under the $50 million mark, but we'll see.

Outside the top five: It was a downer of a weekend for new films. The Edge of Seventeen was the best of the rest, still only coming in at 7th place with $4.82 million. Given its great critical rating (95% on Rotten Tomatoes) and "A" Cinemascore from audiences, it's a bit of a surprise this didn't do much better. Fantastic Beasts likely stole a bit of its thunder (and also its female-driven audience) thus, a film that was supposed to open in the $10-$15 million range fell quite lower than expectations. It's too bad, as this looked like a coming-of-age story worth watching and I really wanted it to stand out - in a good way.

Doing worse, and proving boxing movies outside of the Rocky franchise look to continue to struggle, was Bleed for This. The true story of Vinny Pazienza landed in 8th place with $2.35 million. That total was better than Hands of Stone ($1.75 million) but not by much, and it's not going to do much from here.

Doing even worse was the expansion of Ang Lee's Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk. Adding 1,174 theaters from its two it opened with, it struggled mightily, earning just $930,000 (14th place). It has just $1.1 million and its awards-season hopes are dashed to pieces. With mediocre critical reception and an indifferent audience, this is going to disappear quickly.

Doing much better in limited release was Manchester by the Sea. Earning rave reviews and getting awards-season hype, the rather dreary drama managed a $241,230 from just four theaters for a $60,308 per-theater average. That is the best per-theater average in the 13-year history of Roadside Attractions, nearly doubling the previous best of $36,772 for The September Issue back in 2009.

Next week over the long Thanksgiving holiday we get Disney's latest in Moana (looking once again to put ever other film to shame), along with the war/drama/romance Allied, the dark comedy Bad Santa 2 and Golden Era Hollywood romance/drama Rules Don't Apply.


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