Box Office: November 16-18

The busy period for films is pretty much getting underway at this point, though a lot of the “Oscar Bait” films will be in limited release and many of us won’t be able to see them until the new year. But just before that we get a lot of really varied projects coming out and the Thanksgiving weekend coming up is a big one. This weekend saw the debut of the second Fantastic Beasts film and we enter another place where, strange as it may sound, the American side of it is less important overall than it once was. Crimes of Grindelwald did $62 million this weekend where it was below studio expectations a bit and down $13 million from the first films opening weekend. It continues to surprise some, weirdly, that they’re not doing as well as Harry Potter. They may be based in the world of the books and with some familiar characters, but without the critical mass of the book audience anticipating how it would be adapted since they’re “original” films, that crucial element just isn’t there. Plus, in my mind, it’s not focused on the kids like before (a plus for me) which disengages a lot of the younger audience that’s still discovering the original books.

On the plus side, the film did $191 million in overseas markets this weekend which gives it a $253 million debut. The first film did $234 million domestic total and $580 million overseas. It’ll be interesting to see what the final tally is when all is said and done.

Another new release is Instant Family which debuts in fourth place with a $14.7 million debut and an “A” CinemaScore. It’s trending more female and older but that could give it some legs as we get into the holiday season and adults look to avoid kid-heavy areas. This weekend also saw Widows release and that hit the fifth place for a $12.3 million debut. It has some really strong reviews out there from its festival run but the marketing just didn’t connect it with audiences to get them out to see it.

Holdovers from last week are going strong with The Grinch taking second place with a $38 million add while Bohemian Rhapsody is in third with another $15.7 million to bring it to $127.8 million since its debut.

Wednesday is where all the new debuts will be (and next week’s report will be complicated as we’ll talk about three-day and five-day totals) as we get Green Book expanding to 1,000 screens and three new debuts. Creed 2 hits from MGM in 3,350 screens while Robin Hood lands in 2,700 screens from Lionsgate/Summit. The one that will eat up the most? Ralph Breaks the Internet in 3,800 screens, which will lean on The Grinch and likely bump several other films out. On the plus side? Nothing of note is really opening wide until December 14th, giving these films a chance to shake out and connect with audiences.