Weekend Forecast: ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald,’ ‘Instant Family,’ & ‘Widows’

A strong November box office is poised to roll on this weekend with the debut of three new films, while The Grinch aims to display early holding power before next week’s slew of Thanksgiving releases.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
Opening Weekend Range: $55 – 70 million

PROS:

  • The Harry Potter franchise continues to be massively popular even years after the original books and films were completed. Offering a return to Hogwarts, as well as the return of (younger) favorite characters offers a small hook for loyal and casual fans.
  • Pre-release tracking in recent weeks suggested interest was comparable to that of the first Beasts film leading up to release two years ago.
  • This is easily the weekend’s top choice among men and women 25 and younger, with nostalgia for the Potter universe remaining a factor for everyone else.

CONS:

  • Rotten Tomatoes reviews are notably less positive for this sequel (52 percent vs the first film’s 73 percent), which has been reflected in recent tracking as metrics have fallen behind those of its predecessor and films like Ant-Man and the WaspSolo: A Star Wars Story, and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.
  • Twitter activity fell significantly shy of the first Beasts‘ film last weekend. While showing some improvement this week, it has yet to catch up despite offering fan screenings across the country on Tuesday night.
  • Competition for the adult audience (which has padded the franchise’s widespread appeal in the past) will be stiff this weekend thanks to Instant Family and Widows tracking well among that group, while family audiences will still be driving the second weekend of The Grinch.

Instant Family
Opening Weekend Range: $15 – 22 million

PROS:

  • Industry buzz has indicated strong test audience screenings, now supported by the film’s healthy reviews.
  • Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne provide solid star power with appeal to a variety of audiences. The film’s universal family themes and feel-good nature are expected to resonate with all four quadrants throughout the holiday season.
  • This time of year has proven friendly to family- and star-driven releases like last year’s Wonder and 2009’s The Blind Side. We expect a similarly leggy run through Thanksgiving and Christmas.

CONS:

  • Social media growth isn’t near as strong as Wonder, although that’s to be expected with no previously intellectual property to inflate pre-release interest and awareness.
  • Competition for the adult audience remains a factor with Widows debuting and the continued staying power of Bohemian Rhapsody.

Widows
Opening Weekend Range: $12 – 17 million

PROS:

  • Excellent reviews ignited buzz for the film early in its marketing cycle.
  • A strong ensemble cast led by Viola Davis and the significant demand for quality, female-driven movies are key benefits.
  • Again, long-term play is the goal for this title which could live on word of mouth for weeks to come.

CONS:

  • Social media growth has been comparable to that of First Man, which isn’t a major concern given the target older audience — but it remains worth considering given that film’s under-performance at the box office despite strong reviews and audience word of mouth.
  • The film has shown general tracking signs of intent to be behind those of Instant Family this weekend. Each will be relying most on women over 25 to turn out.

Top 10 Comparison vs. Last Year

Boxoffice projects this weekend’s top ten will earn approximately $172 million. That would mark an 11 percent decline from the same weekend last year when Justice LeagueWonder, and The Star debuted as part of a $192.8 million top ten market.

Weekend Forecast

Film Distributor 3-Day Weekend Forecast Projected Domestic Total through Sunday, November 18 % Change from Last Wknd
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald Warner Bros. $65,000,000 $65,000,000 NEW
Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch Universal $36,000,000 $124,900,000 -47%
Instant Family Paramount $18,000,000 $18,000,000 NEW
Bohemian Rhapsody Fox $17,500,000 $129,100,000 -44%
Widows Fox $14,500,000 $14,500,000 NEW

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