'Fantastic Beasts' Tops Weekend With $75M While Fellow New Releases Struggle
The weekend didn't quite turn out as Mojo had forecast as the top twelve grossed a combined $149.4 million compared to Mojo's forecast, which foresaw the top twelve grossing over $180 million. Part of the blame lay on an over-estimation of the weekend's top new release, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which did deliver a solid #1 opening, but couldn't match Mojo's lofty expectations. To that point, the vast majority of films fell below expectations including the weekend's two other new wide releases, The Edge of Seventeen and Bleed for This, neither of which managed to top $5 million as well as Sony's expansion of Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, which can't be looked at as anything more than a flop at this point.

Yet, there were some other notable performances to focus on, particularly in limited release where Amazon and Roadside's Manchester by the Sea delivered strong opening results and Moonlight and Loving are still holding court as they continue to expand.

Topping the weekend box office, WB's Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them delivered an estimated $75 million, matching industry expectations while falling below BoxOfficeMojo's lofty projections, which banked too heavily on not only the Harry Potter fanbase, but a new group of younger moviegoers. As it turns out, only 18% of the opening weekend audience was under the age of 18 while 55% was over the age of 35, which suggests previous Harry Potter fans showed up, but the new generation wasn't quite as inspired.

As have several Harry Potter films before it, Beasts scored an "A" CinemaScore from opening day audiences. That being said, while this is the lowest opening for any film in J.K. Rowling's Wizarding World series of films, Beasts's opening is on par with the likes of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix ($77.1m) and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince ($77.8m), which went on to gross $292 million and $301 million respectively. Should Fantastic Beasts follow suit a domestic run anywhere from $284-290 million would be in the offing, though a safe expectation right now would seem to be around $275-280 million.

Looking beyond the domestic performance, and given the $180 million budget for Beasts, eyes now turn to the international market where the film opened on Wednesday and has since grossed $143.3 million for an overall global opening of $218.3 million. The film's international debut ranks in the all-time top 30, just behind The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 and ahead of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

Among Beasts's international highlights, it scored Wizarding World record openings in 11 markets, including South Korea ($14.1m), Russia ($9.8m) and Brazil ($6.4m) to go along with an $18.3 million opening in the UK, $9.9 million in Germany, $9.7 million in France, $7.3 million in Australia, $6.6 million in Italy, $5.8 million in Mexico and $4.5 million in Spain. The film will continue its international rollout in China and Japan next weekend.

Getting back to the domestic side of things, as expected, second and third position are currently something of a toss-up with Disney and Marvel's Doctor Strange currently holding the edge with an estimated weekend of $17.67 million, a 59% drop compared to last weekend. Just behind Strange is Fox's Trolls with an estimated $17.5 million weekend, a 50% drop.

Mojo's weekend projections anticipated ~$20 million weekends for both films, while also attempting to consider what kind of factor last weekend's inflated box office due to Election Day and Veterans Day may have on all of the weekend's holdovers. As it turns out, the effect is notable with only a couple of films holding on as expected.

GET MORE: Doctor Strange is about to pass Iron Man's worldwide gross. Compare its performance to the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe!!!

Outside of the Strange's domestic performance, however, the film didn't add any new overseas markets this weekend, but it did add $26 million to its international total which now stands at $390 million for a worldwide tally topping $571.5 million. As a result, Doctor Strange is now the ninth largest worldwide release of 2016. Strange hits theaters in Argentina next weekend.

Fourth place on the domestic chart belongs to Paramount's Arrival with an estimated $11.8 million, a 51% second weekend drop as its domestic cume now stands at $43.3 million. The film did add $3.5 million from 22 international markets where Sony is handling the release, but we are still waiting on numbers from the rest of its territories before updating its overall international total.

Rounding out the top five is Universal's Almost Christmas, dropping 53.5% for an estimated $7 million second weekend, bringing its domestic cume to $25.4 million.

The best hold of the weekend inside the top ten goes to Hacksaw Ridge, which continues to perform well, dropping just 36.5% for an estimated $6.75 million. The film's domestic cume now stands at $42.8 million as it's now looking at a $60+ million domestic run.

In seventh is where we find STX's The Edge of Seventeen, which fell well below its $8-10 million three-day opening expectations, delivering an estimated $4.8 million from 1,945 theaters ($2,480 PTA). The film did receive an "A-" CinemaScore from opening day audiences to go along with a strong 95% critical rating on RottenTomatoes, it simply just wasn't able to attract enough moviegoers. The opening weekend audience demographics showed the film played 70% female and 75% was between the ages of 17-34 years of age.

Next is Open Road's Bleed for This, which could only muster $2.35 million for the weekend from 1,549 theaters ($1,522 PTA). Bleed for This also received an "A-" CinemaScore.

Rounding out the top ten was Ben Affleck's The Accountant with an estimated $2.1 million as its cume has now topped $80 million and stands at $81.2 million.

This weekend also saw the expansion of Ang Lee's Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk into 1,176 theaters (+1,174) with expectations for a weekend around $3-4 million. Unfortunately, mixed reviews and a perceived general lack of interest caused the film to struggle, delivering just $930,000 ($791 PTA). The film's cume now stands at $1.1 million and it would seem most, if not all, of its Oscar chances have been dashed.

More encouraging expansions include A24's Moonlight, which is now playing in 650 theaters (+474) where it brought in an estimated $1.58 million. The film's domestic cume now stands at $6.7 million. Additionally, Focus Features' Loving is now playing in 137 theaters (+91) where it brought in an estimated $854,000 ($6,234 PTA) for a $1.7 million domestic cume. The film will expand into 429 theaters (+292) this coming Wednesday.

This weekend also saw the limited release of a pair of new hotly anticipated films. First off is Tom Ford's Nocturnal Animals, which brought in an estimated $494,000 from 37 theaters ($13,351 PTA) in Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, San Francisco, Boston, Washington, DC and Toronto. The film's audience was 55% female with exit surveys scoring highest with males and females under 35. The film will expand into 200 theaters beginning this Wednesday followed by a nationwide expansion on December 9.

Next is Roadside's release of Amazon Studios' Sundance pickup Manchester by the Sea, which brought in an estimated $241,230 from four theaters ($60,308 PTA). The opening marks the highest ever per screen average in the 13 year history of Roadside Attractions, topping the $36,772 average for The September Issue in 2009.

Other limited releases this weekend included High Top's release of The Take, which brought in $39,000 from 100 theaters; Cleopatra's A Street Cat Named Bob opened with $35,070 from 25 theaters; Abramorama's Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened debuted with $22,573 from 25 theaters; Cohen Media's re-release of Daughters of the Dust brought in an estimated $10,842 from one theater; and Abramorama's Blood on the Mountain opened with $3,443 from two theaters.

Next week things get started early as Disney's Moana, Paramount's Allied, Broad Green's Bad Santa 2 and Fox's Rules Don't Apply will all debut on Wednesday, vying for a piece of the five-day Thanksgiving weekend. On Friday Weinstein will debut Lion in four theaters and EuropaCorp will release the Jessica Chastain thriller Miss Sloane.

For a look at this weekend's estimated results click here and we'll be updating the charts with weekend actuals on Monday afternoon.

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