We know by now that every time #JKRowling says she's done with the wizarding world of #HarryPotter, she actually means she's got twelve new franchises coming. So after she wrote a magical beasts guide called Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them as a follow-up to the adventures of the Boy Who Lived, it obviously didn't take long for Hollywood to adapt the book into a movie or five.
This weekend, #FantasticBeasts opened in the US and several countries worldwide, and #boxoffice expectations were certainly high for the prequel to an entire generation's favorite franchise. Looking at the first numbers for the weekend, it's safe to say that the movie's magic cast a spell on moviegoing audiences — but Newt Scamander isn't winning as many points as Gryffindor back in the day.
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- Fantastic Beasts 2: Five Minor Fantastic Beasts Characters That Could Be Huge In The Sequel
Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them Boasts A Solid Opening
Estimates for the domestic opening of Fantastic Beasts over the weekend place it at $75 million, a solid opening considering the movie's $180 million budget, and a number that suggests an overall domestic box office run between $275 and $290 million. While there's certainly no risk of not meeting the development costs for such a beast of blockbuster, it still didn't manage to beat the openings of any of the previous Harry Potter movies, whose first weekends range from $77 million for The Order of the Phoenix to $169 million for The Deathly Hallows — Part 2.
Granted, the book that inspired the movie was way less popular than the Harry Potter novels, which have been religiously read by a nation of teenagers ever since they came out in the late '90s. But seeing as the Christmas season is only just starting, with other family tentpoles such as Moana coming up on the calendar, Fantastic Beasts would have needed quite a bit more to start a new magical phenomenon.
The Older Characters In Fantastic Beasts Haven't Brought The Wizarding World Many New Fans
It's no secret as to why Harry Potter's adventures resonate so much with their audience: Watch the video above for quotes that will seriously pull at your heartstrings! (Loved it? Click here for more original video content by Movie Pilot.)
But as said audience slowly grows older, it's time for the wizarding world to enchant a new generation, and the numbers for Fantastic Beasts show that today's teens aren't as attached to Newt as we were to little Harry back in the day. 65% of this weekend's moviegoers for Fantastic Beasts were older than 25 (and 55% older than 35), 35% were less than 25, and only 18% were under 18.
Clearly, Harry Potter fans are taking their friends and kids to see the prequel, but there's not an obvious surge of new fans rushing to discover J.K. Rowling's universe. The first reason could be that the movie's main characters aren't so well-known, even by casual Harry Potter viewers, but another might just be the age of the protagonists. One of the main appeals of the adaptations starring Daniel Radcliffe was indeed that the actors grew up at the same time as their fans, who in turn strongly identified with the characters.
If the second installment of the Fantastic Beasts franchise features a younger Newt during his Hogwarts days, or even a young Albus and the struggles of the Dumbledore family, however, the story could not only find its new audience, it might connect even better with the rest of the Harry Potter world.