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'Fantastic Beasts' enchants the box office with $62-million opening

'Fantastic Beasts' enchants the box office with $62-million opening
Eddie Redmayne, left, as Newt Scamander and Callum Turner as Theseus Scamander in the fantasy adventure "Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald." (Liam Daniel / Warner Bros. Pictures)

Warner Bros.' "Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald" met expectations in winning the box office this weekend, opening in first place with $62.2 million, according to figures from measurement firm Comscore.

The "Harry Potter" prequel, a follow-up to 2016's "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them," came in much softer than its predecessor, which opened with $74.4 million. It came in a bit short of analysts' projections of $65 million to $75 million.

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Directed by David Yates, "Crimes of Grindelwald" follows magical zoology expert and wizard Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) as he teams up with a young Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) against the titular dark wizard, played by Johnny Depp.

The $200-million film received mediocre reviews with a B+ on CinemaScore and a 40% "rotten" on review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes, a far cry from its predecessor's A CinemaScore rating and 74% "fresh" Rotten Tomatoes score.

Warner Bros. plans three more films in the series but may have to plan to do the bulk of its business in overseas markets. The film took in $191 million internationally for a global cumulative of $253.2 million, on par with analysts' predictions of $250 million.

At No. 2, Universal's "Dr. Seuss' The Grinch" added $38.2 million in its second weekend for a cumulative $126.5 million.

Fox's "Bohemian Rhapsody" came in third in its third weekend, adding $15.7 million for a cumulative $127.8 million.

In fourth place, Paramount's "Instant Family" opened with $14.7 million.

The comedy, which stars Rose Byrne and Mark Wahlberg as a couple who adopt three children, came in just short of analysts' predictions of $15 million to $20 million. It went over well with both audiences and critics, receiving an A rating on CinemaScore and an 81% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Rounding out the top five, Fox premiered "Widows" with $12.3 million.

Written by "12 Years a Slave" director Steve McQueen and "Gone Girl" scribe Gillian Flynn, the film came in on the low end of analysts' projections of $12 million to $18 million. Starring Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez and Elizabeth Debicki, the film follows a team of women who must complete a job after their criminal husbands are killed during a heist.

The film split audiences and critics with a so-so B rating on CinemaScore and a 91% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critically acclaimed film may need awards momentum to kick-start its box office performance.

In limited release, Universal opened "Green Book" in 25 theaters with $313,000, a per-screen average of $12,520. The awards contender, which got an A+ rating on CinemaScore, may benefit when the season kicks off with the Golden Globes.

CBS Films debuted “At Eternity's Gate" in four theaters with $92,000 for a per-screen average of $23,000. Directed by Julian Schnabel, the film stars Willem Dafoe as Vincent Van Gogh and offers a glimpse into the last two years of the artist's life.

Next week, MGM releases the boxing drama "Creed II," Disney opens the animated "Ralph Breaks the Internet" and Lionsgate premieres the action adventure "Robin Hood." In limited release, Fox Searchlight opens the period drama “The Favourite" and Netflix begins an exclusive theatrical window for "Roma" three weeks ahead of its debut on the streaming service.

11:15 a.m.: This article was updated with additional details.

This article was originally published at 9:15 a.m.

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