The Harry Potter franchise is strong enough to turn movies into blockbusters, even without its titular character.
With author J.K. Rowling at the helm, Warner Bros. is pushing ahead with taking the beloved franchise and delving deeper into its mythology. Its next installment of the franchise, “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald,” is due out Nov 16.
This enthusiasm for all things Harry Potter is expected to continue. Analysts foresee a $65 million to $75 million opening weekend for “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald,” on par with the opening of the previous film.
“It’s the most anticipated fall movie,” Erik Davis, managing editor at Fandango, which sells movie tickets, told CNBC.
The success of this new venture won’t just be measured by box office sales. While the “Fantastic Beasts” series is expected to generate billions of dollars over the course of its multi-year run, the true test for Warner Bros. comes in the form of fan engagement.
It is not enough for these films to be good, they have to inspire fans to buy the merchandise, attend the amusement parks and see the movies multiple times.
Fans of Harry Potter have not been shy about rewarding companies that create new content for them to devour — theme parks, tours and merchandise to showcase their love of the franchise. Yet while the returns on “Fantastic Beasts” have been good so far, they don’t quite measure up to the performance of the movies in the first Harry Potter series.
Two years ago, moviegoers worldwide shelled out more than $814 million to see “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” the first film in the series — and that’s not counting the $58 million spent on DVD and Blu-ray copies of the film.
The final film in the original series, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2,” alone garnered more than $1.3 billion at the box office in 2011.