As Warner Bros. prepares for the hotly-anticipated release of "Harry Potter" spinoff flick "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them," the studio is hoping for some magical numbers at the box office. Of course, with the film's status a heretofore unknown story, it remains to be seen just how huge its opening weekend haul will be.
Early estimates are pegging the flick for a domestic gross of around $75 million during its first few days of release, in addition to pulling in a hefty sum from foreign markets, putting the film's total opening weekend take at around $200 million globally. That's certainly not a number to sneeze at, but prognosticators note that Warner Bros. isn't ignorant to the fact that "Beasts" is not "Harry Potter," no matter how linked the two franchises may be.
"It's not going to open like a Harry Potter film," said Eric Handler, an analyst with MKM Partners. "People are still trying to figure out what this story is about and who the characters are."
Still, as Variety notes, Warner Bros. is already putting plenty of faith in the burgeoning franchise, expanding the planned number of films from the previously announced three to a new total of five flicks. "Potter" author J.K. Rowling, who made her screenwriter debut with "Beasts," will pen all of the films in the series.
"Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" opens this Friday, November 18.