J.K. Rowling’s big screen Wizarding World is hardly on death’s door, but Warner Bros. can’t be happy about Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald‘s opening weekend.
Sunday estimates point to a $62.2 million start for the newly released sequel, which hit theaters on Nov. 16. That’s low. Low for a Wizarding World movie (and one that introduces a young and hot Albus Dumbledore, no less), and low for a November tentpole.
The Crimes of Grindelwald is shaping up to deliver the Wizarding World’s weakest box office opening to date. Its 2016 predecessor, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, is the previous owner of that dubious honor.
The first Fantastic Beasts is also the poorest overall box office performer in the series, having ended its theatrical run with $234 million in U.S. ticket sales. The next one on the list, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban — the third of those movies, released in 2004 — ended its run with $249.5 million domestic.
If the opening weekend is any indication, The Crimes of Grindelwald is pacing to come in under its predecessor.
The weak start is especially noteworthy given November’s history as a platform for fall season blockbusters. The month’s all-time champs for box office openings include three Twilight movies, two Harry Potter movies, Thor: Ragnarok, Justice League, and all three Hunger Games sequels. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is November’s best overall, with a $158.1 million opening weekend.
Of course, U.S. ticket sales don’t paint the whole picture here. Harry Potter and the Wizarding World in general are huge with foreign audiences. No movie in the series has earned less than $500 million outside the U.S. (and only one fell below $550 million — but only just).
So in that sense, the Wizarding World movies are in no danger of disappearing. But Fantastic Beasts clearly didn’t find a Harry Potter-sized audience in 2016, and Grindelwald‘s (questionable) addition of Johnny Depp and a central role for Jude Law’s Dumbledore didn’t help.
The real question is how Grindelwald is going to perform during its whole theatrical run. Critics haven’t exactly been bowled over. If the total take is an even bigger drop down from what Fantastic Beasts earned in 2016, a shake-up could be coming.