Warner Bros., the studio behind the wizarding series, sees
"Fantastic Beasts" as more of an international play, where the
follow-up has already earned $191 million. Stateside, "Crimes of
Grindelwald" has battled the worst reviews yet for a "Harry
Potter" entry. It currently holds a bleak 40 percent on Rotten
Tomatoes and a B+ Cinemascore.
"The Crimes of Grindelwald" is the second entry in what Warner
Bros. intends to be a five-film franchise and is part of the
studio's ongoing effort to wring more riches from the wizarding
world popularized by author J.K. Rowling. It sparked controversy
when Johnny Depp was cast as the infamous dark wizard Gellert
Grindelwald. However, it didn't seem to taint enthusiasm among
Theaters were able to entice more than just witches and wizards
this weekend. New offerings, along with a number of holdovers,
were able to draw muggles and crack the top five as comedy
"Instant Family" and heist drama "Widows" each opened relatively
on par with expectations.
For Paramount, "Instant Family" starring Mark Wahlberg and Rose
Byrne, generated $14.7 million when it launched in 3,286
locations. The feel-good film that's loosely based on a true
story of a married couple who adopt three young children earned
a promising A CinemaScore, as well as a 79 percent on Rotten
Tomatoes. The audience was predominately female and over the age
of 35. The studio is banking on a strong Thanksgiving showing to
boost momentum and justify its $48 million price tag.
Fox and New Regency are distributing "Widows," directed by Steve
McQueen, which brought in a tepid $12.5 million from 2,805
venues. The movie cost $40 million to make and follows a group
of women who arrange a caper in order to pay back a crime boss
after their criminal husbands are killed on a job gone wrong.
The ensemble cast includes Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez,
Elizabeth Debicki, and Cynthia Erivo. Since its debut at the
Toronto Film Festival, "Widows" has garnered rave reviews,
especially for Davis' performance.
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Second place went to Universal's "The Grinch," which pocketed
another $38 million to bring its domestic tally to $126 million.
"Bohemian Rhapsody," Fox's Freddie Mercury biopic," also saw a
strong outing in its third weekend and nabbed third place with $15
million. That takes its North American total to $127 million.
In limited release, Universal got a head start on "Green Book" as
the awards-bait film picked up $313,000 from 25 venues for a
per-screen average of $12,520. Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali
co-star in the comedic drama, which expands nationwide on Nov. 21.
It won the people's choice award at the Toronto Film Festival and
has since generated an A+ Cinemascore and 83% Rotten Tomatoes
average. Directed by Peter Farrelly and co-produced by Participant
and DreamWorks, "Green Book" follows a bouncer who takes a job
chauffeuring a famed black pianist in the segregation era. Mortensen
has been the subject of controversy after he used the N-word during
a panel discussion promoting the film (he was making a point about
how far society had come in the decades since Jim Crow). He has
CBS Films' "At Eternity's Gate" secured the best theater average of
the week with $23,000 per venue for a weekend haul of $92,000 from
four theaters in New York and Los Angeles. Willem Dafoe has earned
raves for his portrayal of Vincent van Gogh in the drama, which will
continue its expansion in weeks to come.
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