‘Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore’ Looks To Spell Near $160M WW Total By Easter; ‘Father Stu’ Sees $1.6M Opening-Day Box Office

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Warner Bros, which has traditionally ruled the Easter weekend box office, is back, a year after Godzilla vs. Kong brought bread to reopening cinemas during the pandemic. The stateside arrival of J.K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, and further expansion abroad into 44 markets, arrives days after the Warner Bros. Discovery merger went public.

Fantastic Beats: The Secrets Of Dumbledore

The Harry Potter franchise spinoff has always demonstrated its potency more so abroad than stateside, so look for the magic there. David Yates, who has directed all the Fantastic Beasts movies, and Harry Potter Order of the Phoenix, Half-Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows 1 & 2, is natch behind this threequel, which after a $56.9 million start in 22 offshore markets last weekend is eyeing, thanks to Easter vacations, a near $77M overseas cume by EOD Thursday. Add in a global weekend projected haul of $80M, and it will take Dumbledore‘s worldwide cume to $157M by Sunday according to industry estimates. Note the Easter holiday abroad and in U.S./Canada could take these numbers higher.

Warner Bros’ domestic theatrical distribution is seeing at least $40M from 4,200 locations; tracking believes $50M+ is possible. On the heels of the openings of The Lost City, Morbius and Sonic the Hedgehog, that’s a great spring for recovering exhibitors. Franchise-wise, after Fantastic Beasts 1 andrespectively opened to $74.4M and $62.1M, this installment is poised to play like a threequel, particularly coming off of the second film which earned a B+ CinemaScore in 2018. The first movie in 2016 received an ‘A’ CinemaScore.

Abroad, 44 new markets this weekend including France, Italy, and Korea on Wednesday, followed by Brazil and Mexico on Thursday, are expected to deliver well north of $40M for the Burbank, CA lot. The only question is how much Paramount’s Sonic the Hedgehog cuts into Dumbledore‘s coffers.

Reviews on Rotten Tomatoes for Dumbledore are at 55% Rotten, better than the sequel’s 36% Rotten but still off the first movie’s 74% fresh.

Dumbledore begins previews in the U.S. at 3,200 locations at 2 p.m. today. This is the first time the franchise is playing the spring having previously played November before. ComScore see the available audience for Dumbledore as 22% K-12 schools off today, rising to 73% on Good Friday and maintaining 41% off on Monday. The first Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them earned $8.75M in Thursday previews in 2016, while Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald made $9.1M in previews; latter figure included $1.8M Tuesday sneaks. Core crowd for Dumbledore are women and young girls. Grindelwald pulled in 52% female, with 52% over 25.

Mark Wahlberg in 'Father Stu'

Meanwhile, Columbia Pictures looks to capitalize on the Christian holiday weekend with the Mark Wahlberg R-rated drama Father Stu, about an amateur boxer who eventually becomes a Catholic priest. The pic launched Wednesday with $1.55M at 2,705 theaters; there were also 4 p.m. Tuesday previews rolled into that figure. The film currently holds a 95% positive audience score on Rotten Tomatoes and received a 5-star PostTrak exit. Outlook for the weekend over five days is $7M to possibly $10M.

Wahlberg co-financed the movie when it needed extra support to get it over the finish line during Covid. The pic has been promoted throughout Catholic churches. Mel Gibson and Jacki Weaver also star. Rosalind Ross directed and wrote.

Meanwhile, Paramount’s Sonic the Hedgehog 2 through six days is up to an estimated $85.1M after a $3.7M Wednesday, off 27% from Tuesday. That running total is 9% ahead of the same frame’s running gross of the first movie in 2020. Sonic 2 came in ahead of its Sunday projection with a $72.1M opening; the pic is expected to ease 50% in weekend 2 with an estimated $36M.

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