BO Report: ‘Fantastic Beasts’ sequel casts a powerful spell

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (Photo: Warner Bros).

Warner Bros’ Fantastic Beasts sequel worked its magic on moviegoers last weekend, ringing up $253.6 million worldwide as the Australian opening outshone the US debut.

It was a buoyant frame in Oz, boosted by Trafalgar Releasing’s Burn the Stage: The Movie, while another alternate content release, Rialto’s Spitfire was less successful.

The Old Man & the Gun, which could be Robert Redford’s final screen role, is playing on limited screens in the US but went out far wider here via eOne with modest results.

Bruce Beresford’s Ladies in Black reached $11.7 million after earning $74,000 in its ninth frame for Sony Pictures. Meanwhile Catherine Scott’s Backtrack Boys has generated $104,000 and Heath Davis’ comedy-drama Book Week has collected $34,000.

Japanese filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Shoplifters, which won the Palme d’Or in Cannes, stole a respectable $52,000 on 15 screens and $161,000 including festival screenings and previews for Rialto. The drama starring Lily Franky, Sakura Ando, Mayu Matsuoka and Sosuke Ikematsu drew a substantial audience at Cinema Nova, the fourth most popular title behind Bohemian Rhapsody, the Fantastic Beasts sequel and A Star Is Born, according to general manager Kristian Connelly.

Takings for the top 20 titles jumped by 29 per cent to $17.9 million, according to Numero. Directed by David Yates and scripted by JK Rowling, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald captured $8.5 million on 699 screens and $9.4 million including advance screenings.

That was fractionally below the original’s $9.76 million first weekend but, pro-rata, way ahead of the sequel’s US debut of $62.1 million. Wallis Cinemas’ Bob Parr was happy with the opening, given his view that part one “didn’t leave one hanging for a sequel.”

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them launched with $74 million in the US two years ago and ended up with $234 million there and $580 million overseas for a global total of $814 million.

The follow-up, which stars Eddie Redmayne, Jude Law, Katherine Waterston, Ezra Miller, Zoe Kravitz and Dan Fogler, may need to match that given the $200 million budget – $25 million more than the first one.

Fox’s Bohemian Rhapsody is showing great legs, easing by just 32 per cent to $4.2 million in its third stanza, hoisting its total to $23.5 million. The biopic starring Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury has amassed $384.3 million worldwide: $127.8 million in the US and $256.4 million in the rest of the world.

Warner Bros’ A Star is Born ascended to $26.8 million after making $1.8 million in its fifth frame, down 32 per cent. Bradley Cooper’s musical drama has mustered $185.8 million in the US and $340.7 million worldwide- a lucrative return for a film which cost $36 million.

Directed by Park Jun Soo, Burn the Stage: The Movie, which charts the meteoric rise to fame of South Korean boy band BTS, whistled up $550,000 on 110 screens.

After a mediocre opening Fede Alvarez’s The Girl in the Spider’s Web collapsed by 59 per cent, taking $320,000 in its second weekend and $1.3 million for Sony. The thriller starring Claire Foy limped along to $13.3 million in the US so the $43 million production is shaping as a write-off for Columbia, MGM and New Regency.

Writer-director David Lowery’s The Old Man & the Gun, which stars Redford as a guy who carried out a string of heists after escaping from San Quentin at the age of 70, collected $263,000 and $285,000 including previews on 115 screens.

Parr described the opening as quieter than he had hoped for but added: “Word of mouth is great so I hope it hangs in there.” Co-starring Sissy Spacek and Casey Affleck, it’s grossed $10.6 million in the US for Fox Searchlight.

Joel Edgerton’s Boy Erased dipped by 37 per cent to $251,000 in its second frame, generating a decent $848,000 for Universal.

Sony’s animated comedy Goosebumps: Haunted Halloween reached $3.9 million after minting $244,000 in its fourth.

David Gordon Green’s Halloween advanced to $6.5 million after fetching $228,000 in its fourth for Universal. The slasher movie starring Jamie Lee Curtis has bagged $251 million worldwide, a spectacular return on a $10 million budget.

David Fairhead and Ant Palmer’s Spitfire, a feature documentary which tells of the fighter planes and pilots that helped win the Battle of Britain in WWII, raked in $56,000 from limited sessions on 92 screens and $88,000 with previews.