Fantastic Beasts: Secrets of Dumbledore summons lackluster magic at box office
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore summoned feeble magic at the domestic box office, debuting with a franchise low of $43 million.
The weekend numbers from media analytics company Comscore stand in stark contrast to the first two films of the Harry Potter spin-off franchise: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them debuted with $74 million in 2016, while The Crimes of Grindelwald earned $62 million in 2018.
Director David Yates' third installment follows a young Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) as he enlists magizoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) to lead a team of fearless wizards and witches to stop dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald's (Mads Mikkelsen, replacing the embattled Johnny Depp) quest to seize control of the wizarding world.
Katherine Waterston, Ezra Miller, Dan Fogler, and Alison Sudol also star in the film, which EW critic Leah Greenblatt gives a B- review. While the "third time is not quite the charm," Dumbledore "feels like an improvement, at least, on the joyless, enervating slog of 2018's Crimes of Grindelwald," Greenblatt writes, noting, "It's nimbler and sweeter and more cohesive in its storyline."
Greenblatt writes, "And the cast, less trapped in a fug of half-formed symbolism and subplots, are allowed realer and more romantic stakes. For a franchise that promised five films before the first was even released, though, Beasts remains a strangely liminal experience: born from a fantastic universe, but still searching for a magic of its own."
Elsewhere, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 zoomed to No. 2 during its second weekend, earning an additional $30 million by Sunday, bringing its North American total to $119 million. The Lost City continued to find box office treasure at No. 3, bringing its North American total to $78 million. Everything Everywhere All At Once, now in its second weekend of wider release, also resumed its multiverse takeover at No. 4, bringing its domestic total to $17.6 million. Newly-released Father Stu, Mark Wahlberg's drama about a reformed boxer, rounded out the top five with $8 million.
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