BOX OFFICE: “Fantastic Beasts” $69, “Widows” and “Instant Family” underwhelm

deppWhatever box office clout Hollywood musicals still have, it’s still big budget juvenalia that is the surest best to BO success.

A fall that has seen “Venom” and “Grinch” and “Halloween” blow up, adds “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” to its list of smash hits, as the Wizarding World sequel may approach $70 million on its opening weekend.

That’s based on pre-sales, Thursday night and all-day Friday numbers. Saturday, being the big family-goes-to-the-movies day, could push that up or down.

I think it’s the worst movie to ever have J.K. Rowling’s name attached to it, and reviews overall reviews overall have been weak to mixed.

Conversely, the critically-acclaimed “Widows” isn’t catching the same wave. An R-rated heist thriller for adults, it’s only managing $13-14 million, well below the already lowballed expectations ($18+) pushed out there by the studio and movie marketing experts.

“Instant Family” seemed like a no-brainer, a Mark Wahlberg comedy with kids and cussing? Those things sell themselves. But “Daddy’s NOT Home” this time. Unless Saturday brings in the bacon, this sweet, rude farce about adoption, which is opening to pretty good reviews, isn’t going to clear $12 million. If every review was like mine, noting the harsh language the film uses for laughs, it might be that this hard PG-13 cursed itself out of a goldmine.

It’s not yet Thanksgiving, the kids aren’t out of school, so Friday’s haul was big for “Grindelwald” and decent for the rest, but not huge.

“Grinch” will manage $31 and “Bohemian Rhapsody” another $16 or so, which means “Widows” and “Instant Family” will be fighting for fourth place.


About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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