‘Fantastic Beasts Dumbledore’ Eyes Meek $40M-$45M Opening – The Hollywood Reporter

Warner Bros.’ Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore is on course for a so-so domestic box office opening of $40-$45 million after earning $20.1 million on Friday.

The opening day number included $6 million in Thursday previews.

The $200 million movie — which marks the third installment in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter spinoff franchise — is opening well behind his predecessors. Franchises have become ever more important to Hollywood studios, but it remains to be seen whether this particular series can keep going.

Directed by David Yates, Secrets of Dumbledore stars Eddie Redmayne, Jude Law, Mads Mikkelsen, Ezra Miller, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, William Nadylam, Callum Turner, Jessica Williams and Victoria Yeates.

In 2016, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them debuted to $74.4 million domestically. The second installment, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, came in below that, or $62.2 million. Dumbledore‘s Thursday preview earnings weren’t too far behind the first two.

The Fantastic Beasts series has never caught on in the way Harry Potter did. Complicating matters, there has been plenty of behind-the-scenes drama and production delays due to COVID-19.

Ezra Miller, who plays Credence Barebone in all three films, made headlines after appearing to choke a fan outside a club and, most recently, allegedly harassed people at a bar in Hawaii and broke into a couple’s hotel room. Then there is the series progenitor, Rowling, who has spent the past two years expressing her anti-trans views.

And Johnny Depp, who played the Fantastic Beasts villain Gellert Grindelwald in the second installment, left Secrets of Dumbledore when he became embroiled in domestic abuse allegations made by his ex-wife, Amber Heard. (Depp was replaced by Mads Mikkelsen.)

Overseas, Fantastic Beasts 3 has earned more than $60 million-plus to date from select markets where it rolled out early.

Other new offerings this weekend include Sony’s religious-themed Father Stu, which tells the true story of a former boxer and two-bit actor who becomes a priest. Mark Wahlberg, Mel Gibson and Jacki Weaver star. Wahlberg is also one of the film’s producers and put up some of the financing.

Father Stu opened midweek in order to take advantage of kids being out of school for spring break, and grossed $1.6 million on Wednesday and $775,000 on Thursday for a two-day total of $2.3 million.

On Friday, the film earned $1.6 million for a five-day start of just $7 million.

Updated numbers will be released Sunday morning.

April 16, 8:45 a.m. Updated with Friday numbers.

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