'Fantastic Beasts' Sequel Delivers $253 Million Global Debut
While still a solid weekend, the performances fell below Mojo's pre-weekend expectations almost across the board. Warner Bros.'s Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, the latest entry in the Fantastic Beasts franchise still topped the weekend as expected, but even it fell a bit below the studio's expectations, though not by as much as both Paramount's Instant Family and Fox's Widows, neither of which managed to break out among opening weekend audiences, but will hope to take advantage of the holiday weekend to come.

The overall weekend, however, was an improvement over last weekend and while it fell short of the same weekend last year, which saw the debut of Justice League, the month is now pacing slightly ahead of last year's grosses, which saw the November box office top $1 billion for only the third time ever.

At #1, Warner Bros.'s release of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald fell a bit short of the studio's anticipated $65 million debut with an estimated $62 million from 4,163 theaters and ~$13 million shy of the debut for the first film. It's clear that while banking on its connection to the Harry Potter franchise, the Fantastic Beasts features have yet to capture the same kind of fervor. That said, where the sequel's domestic performance ends up will be something to watch as the $200 million production certainly looks to take advantage of the holiday time frame, but has plenty of competition up ahead.

Reviews for The Crimes of Grindelwald have been relatively weak — 40% on RottenTomatoes and 53 on Metacritic — and the film received a "B+" CinemaScore, which, in CinemaScore terms, is a notable decline compared to the "A" the first film received. The film played to a crowd that was 57% female with 69% of the overall audience coming in aged 25 years or older. While a couple percentage points higher, these numbers mesh almost exactly with the first film. That said, the audience score for Grindelwald on RottenTomatoes comes in at a decent 71% and should it follow in the footsteps of the first film, look for a domestic performance that just might reach $200 million.

Internationally, the film brought in $191 million from 79 markets, including record openings in 18 of them, including Russia ($12.1m) and Brazil ($6.9m) along with performances ahead of the first film in 43 markets, including France ($11.7m), Germany ($12.8m), Russia, Brazil and Mexico ($6.2m). China led all markets with an estimated $37.5 million debut, which is a shade behind the $40.4 million opening for the first film. All told, we're looking at a $253 million global debut — 38th largest of all-time — with Japan as the lone key market yet to open, where the film will hit theaters this coming Friday, November 23.

Universal and Illumination's The Grinch landed in second place, bringing in an estimated $38.2 million as it begins its second week in release. The film's domestic cume now totals over $126 million as it will face its first real test this coming Wednesday when Disney debuts Ralph Breaks the Internet. While Ralph is sure to deliver big numbers, The Grinch hopes to continue to leverage its holiday theme for many weeks to come. Internationally, The Grinch added $9.4 million from 23 markets for a running cume that now totals $25.2 million. The film didn't add in any new markets this weekend.

Fox's Bohemian Rhapsody began its third week in release with a -49.7% slide, bringing in an estimated $15.7 million for a domestic cume that now totals $127.8 million. Internationally, the film added another $45.5 million this weekend for an overseas cume that now tops $256 million. The film releases in Italy on November 29 and South Africa on the 30th.

In fourth we find the weekend's second new wide release in Paramount's Instant Family, which came in at the lower end of expectations with an estimated $14.7 million. The studio can be happy about the "A" CinemaScore the film received from opening day audiences, hoping it will translate into a strong hold next weekend and throughout the holiday season, though an opening of this size doesn't give it room to gain much ground. The film played to an audience that was 65% female and 61% of the audience was over 35 years old.

Rounding out the top five is Fox's Widows, which fell below the mid-teen opening the studio was expecting, finishing with an estimated $12.3 million from 2,803 locations. The film came into the weekend as the best reviewed feature among new releases and after enjoying a strong run on the festival circuit, but audiences just didn't turn out.

Internationally, after opening in the UK last weekend, Widows added another 18 markets this weekend where it grossed an estimated $2.8 million for an early international cume totaling $7.3 million. The top new market this weekend was Italy where it grossed an estimated $737,000 and it will look to add another 26 markets next week including Argentina, Australia, Netherlands and Russia.

Elsewhere, Focus expanded the release of Boy Erased into 409 locations (+332) where it delivered an estimated $1.28 million ($3,130 PTA) with the studio planning on adding around another one hundred theaters for Thanksgiving weekend. Not fairing quite so well was Aviron's expansion of A Private War into 865 locations (+827), which struggled mightily, bringing in an estimated $725,000 for a meager, $838 per theater average.

In limited release, CBS Films's At Eternity's Gate delivered an estimated $92,000 from four locations for a chart topping, $23,000 per theater average. The film will expand into select theaters in twelve additional cities beginning this coming Wednesday.

Universal also began the platform release of Participant and DreamWorks's Green Book, which delivered an estimated $313,000 from 25 locations for a $12,520 per theater average. The film also received an "A+" CinemaScore from opening day audiences, which Universal will hope to take advantage of when they roll the film out nationwide this coming Wednesday into over 1,000 locations. Additionally, China Lion's A Cool Fish debuted in 15 theaters with an estimated $65,000 for a $4,333 per theater average.

Next week features plenty of options over the long, Thanksgiving holiday. Beginning on Wednesday, Disney will be releasing Ralph Breaks the Internet into ~3,800 locations, MGM will debut the sequel Creed II and Lionsgate is taking a chance with the latest re-imagining of Robin Hood.

You can check out all of this weekend's estimated results right here and we'll be updating our charts with weekend actuals on Monday afternoon.

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