What's in a name? Well, in the case of Harry Potter, a lot of money. Warner Bros. is looking to capitalize further on the good name of the Harry Potter franchise with the upcoming spinoff Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. However, with the famous wizard's name absent from the title of this new movie, the box office could suffer a bit when compared to the rest of the Harry Potter movies.
According to SFGate, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is currently tracking for an opening weekend box office around $75 million. For most movies, that would be worth popping champagne over, but Warner Bros. has very high expectations for this movie and the franchise potential behind it. Should it come in at the $75 million mark, that would put it lower than the opening weekend of any of the Harry Potter movies.
Both Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix debuted at right around $77 million, so Fantastic Beasts has a good chance of being able to best those two movies. Still, that would put it on the low end for the franchise. That being said, the Harry Potter franchise has historically done very well overall at the box office and opening weekend isn't everything. Worldwide, Order of the Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince are the fourth and fifth highest grossing in the Harry Potter franchise, despite their comparatively low opening weekend box office.
Even though Fantastic Beasts isn't related to Harry Potter in name, it is very much an authentic part of the wizarding world. J.K. Rowling wrote the script for the movie herself and has been heavily involved in the project from the beginning. Warner Bros. and Rowling have a lot of faith in the project, as they have already officially announced a sequel with director David Yates set to return, as well as plans for potentially five movies in total. Even if the movie does come in right at the $75 million mark, that should be enough for the studio to continue with their plans. The lowest grossing Harry Potter movie to date was Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, which still grossed $796 million worldwide. If Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them can do that, it would surely be enough to justify continuing on with the franchise.
Outside of not having Harry Potter in the name, Fantastic Beasts could suffer a little from another movie that is about to drop in the U.S. Marvel's latest movie Doctor Strange is coming out just a couple of weeks before Fantastic Weeks and Where to Find Them, and the buzz on it has been overwhelmingly positive. Doctor Strange also centers around magic, albeit a very different kind, but that could perhaps take some of the wind out of Fantastic Beasts sales when it comes to the more general public, who may not pay to see two magic movies in the same month. November could very well become a cinematic sorcery showdown at the box office. Marvel Studios has proven they know how to bring it in at the box office, but Harry Potter fans are feverish and shouldn't be underestimated.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them takes place in New York in 1926 and follows Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) as he tries to round up a bunch of magical creatures who manage to get loose in the city. In addition to the Oscar winner, the cast also includes Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller, Samantha Morton, Jon Voight, Ron Perlman, Carmen Ejogo, Jenn Murray, Faith Wood-Blagrove and Colin Farrell. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them opens in theaters on November 18 with a sequel set to drop on November 16, 2018.