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By Vildana Hajric
Observer Staff Writer 

Magical Weekend for Harry Potter Spinoff "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them"

Pre-release tracking had predicted around $90 million for the weekend, according to Box Office Mojo.

 

November 24, 2016

Magical Weekend for Harry Potter Spinoff "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them"

J.K. Rowling's "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them," a prequel to the Harry Potter blockbuster franchise, made its silver screen debut on Thursday night, grossing $75 million domestically during its opening weekend. The Warner Bros. film, starring Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne as a magizoologist who travels the world seeking magical creatures, had a total budget of $180 million.

Pre-release tracking had predicted around $90 million for the weekend, according to Box Office Mojo.

The movie, based on a book and script written by Rowling, is the first in a series of five films. The story takes place in 1920s New York City and is almost entirely independent of the Harry Potter series, save for a few references.

The standalone feature tells the tale of Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) as he embarks on an adventure to discover the mysterious forces that have been terrorizing New York.

So far the film has garnered a positive reception from audiences. Cinemascore gave the film an "A" rating, and it has an 86% audience approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes as of Sunday.

Magical Weekend for Harry Potter Spinoff "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them"

At a media event in New York, Rowling said she created the story "because it's something that I really wanted to write and I hope that when people see the movie they will see that it grew out of things that are really important to me."

Rowling acknowledged that since the end of the top-grossing Harry Potter series there has been a "huge hunger" for more content centered on the world she created.

The second movie of the "Fantastic Beasts" franchise is slated for worldwide release in November 2018, according to Warner Bros. The script will again be written by Rowling and will delve deeper into a wizarding world facing dark and uncertain times.

Other top performers this weekend included Marvel's "Doctor Strange," which grossed $17.7 million, and DreamWork's "Trolls," which brought in $17.5 million. Both debuted last week and held on to the second and third spots, respectively.

 

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