‘Fantastic Beasts: Dumbledore’s Secrets,’ the third installment in the Harry Potter prequel series, topped the North American box office this weekend with a $43 million launch, according to studio estimates on Sunday.
However, the latest installment in the fantasy franchise fell short of domestic opening weekend sales for the previous two installments: 2016’s “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” ($74 million) and “Fantastic 2018’s Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” ($62). million).
“We’ve seen revenue drop with each of the ‘Fantastic Beasts’ films, [but] this is yet another in a long line of No. 1 debuts for films in this orbit in the Harry Potter universe,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore, a company that tracks box-office data. office.
The film opened in 4,208 locations in North America, pulling in an average of $10,219 per location, according to Warner Bros. Pictures.
In some ways, the “Fantastic Beasts” series has been overshadowed by scrutiny of Harry Potter author JK Rowling’s views on the transgender community as well as domestic violence allegations against actor Johnny Depp, who was replaced in the role of Grindelwald by Mads Mikkelsen. Depp denied the allegations.
“Sonic the Hedgehog 2,” a family-friendly video game adaptation in its second week of release, took second place, grossing $30 million in the United States and Canada for a cumulative domestic gross of $119.6. million on Sunday morning, according to distributor Paramount Pictures.
Michael Bay’s ‘Ambulance,’ a frenetic thriller starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, continued to spray in its second week in theaters, adding $4 million to its $15.6 million debut. cumulative domestic transportation, according to Universal Pictures. (Universal Pictures and NBC News are both units of NBCUniversal.)
The only other major new release in theaters this weekend was Mark Wahlberg’s religious drama “Father Stu,” which premiered on Wednesday. The film, the true story of a boxer turned priest, grossed $8 million over a five-day period, according to Sony.
American movie theaters that struggled during the first two years of the pandemic received a boost this year with hits such as “The Batman” (Warner Bros.), the adventure tale “Uncharted” (Sony) and the reboot of “Scream” (Primordial).
Major movie chains are gearing up for even bigger crowds in May with the release of two big-budget shows: Marvel Studios’ “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” (May 6) and Paramount’s “Top Gun: Maverick.” (May 27). .