Beasts fantastic at US box office; Billy Lynn flops on expansion

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It was magic at the US box office this weekend with the latest installment in the Harry Potter universe, Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, landing at the No.1 spot on its debut (via Box Office Mojo).

The film, set seventy years before the first Potter adventure, opened in 4,144 theatres and grossed a massive $75million which was in-line with industry expectations. It’s lower than all of the opening grosses for the Potter films, but given this is a new series it is a very strong start. Across the globe the film has already amassed $218million and as expected is set to be one of the year’s biggest films. Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterson, Dan Fogler, Ezra Miller and Colin Farrell star in the David Yates film.

Last week’s number one, Marvel’s Doctor Strange, dropped 59% on last weekend to bring in $17.6million and bringing its domestic total to over $181million. Just behind was Dreamworks’ animated hit Trolls, which stars Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake, which has now passed $116million in the US.

This week’s two new releases did not fare too well: acclaimed teen comedy The Edge of Seventeen was slightly below expectations at number seven with a weekend gross of $4.8million, while Miles Teller-Aaron Eckhart boxing drama Bleed For This only managed $2.35million to open eighth.

Surprisingly it was Ang Lee’s new film that took most of the headlines outside of Fantastic Beasts, with his new drama Billy Lynn’s Halftime Walk tanking on its nationwide expansion. While it grossed $114,129 last weekend from two theatres, its move to 1,176 theatres did not have the impact it hoped and could only muster $930,00, for a theatre average of just $791.

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