The Harry Potter spinoff Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them officially opens today, November 18, but the magical movie had a limited Thursday night preview. The numbers from the first night are now in, and the film pulled in $8.75 million in the US for its initial debut, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
That is nowhere close to the final Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and Deathly Hallows – Part 2, which made $43.5 million for its Thursday night opening in 2011. That movie held the Thursday night record until it was beaten by Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($57 million) last year.
Those stand as two of the highest-grossing movies in the history of film, and Fantastic Beasts, though connected to Harry Potter, is not nearly as well-known. Fantastic Beasts is expected to make between $70-80 million this weekend at the US box office, making it the No. 1 movie of the weekend. That’s a lot of money, but it could be worse than any opening in the Harry Potter series.
The Order of the Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince made $77 million during their respective US opening weekends, meaning Fantastic Beasts could beat them if it comes it at the high end of its projections. We will report back on Sunday night when the final weekend figures are in.
Fantastic Beasts has already been out for a few days internationally, pulling in $23.5 million from 47 markets. The movie had a reported budget of $180 million.
There will be at least four Fantastic Beasts sequels, though it remains to be seen if director David Yates will be behind the camera for all of them. The first sequel will be set in Paris and star Johnny Depp.