Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore Box Office Proves The Magic Is Gone

It was another very fascinating pre-summer weekend at the box office — Easter weekend, no less — as Warner Bros. unleashed "Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore" in theaters domestically, with the latest "Harry Potter" spin-off looking to recover from 2018's "The Crimes of Grindelwald," among other things. Unfortunately, that didn't pan out and the film set in the Wizarding World stumbled pretty damn hard and could spell the end for the franchise as we know it. Outside of that, "Sonic 2" continued to gobble up the gold coins, "Everything Everywhere All At Once" expanded further, and Mark Wahlberg's "Father Stu" straight-up tanked. Let's dig in, shall we?

Secrets of Dumbledore is a fantastic, beastly stumble

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Just six years after "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" looked like a promising start for the franchise, "The Secrets of Dumbledore" just posted a new low for a "Harry Potter" film, taking in just $43 million in its opening weekend according to Box Office Mojo. Ouch. There will be much to discuss in the coming weeks but even with a $193.4 million global total right now, director David Yates' latest will almost certainly fail to make as much as "Crimes of Grindelwald" ($651 million), and that was already viewed as a disappointment relative to expectations.

Warner Bros. must now figure out how to navigate the ongoing issues with J.K. Rowling as they look to keep the world of "Harry Potter" going in some way, especially with the Discovery merger closing recently. This series is far too important to the company's bottom line, especially as a theatrical player, to let it go entirely. The big thing for now is that we are almost certainly not going to see the final two entries in what was originally going to be a five-film arc. This is a downright magical (and not in a good way) fall from grace. We may be talking about this one for years to come, folks.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 does quite well in its second frame

In better news, things continue to be excellent for Paramount at the box office as "Sonic the Hedgehog 2" collected $30 million in its second weekend. While that is a kind of steep 58.4% drop from its first weekend, that's pretty impressive given the nature of the competition this video game adaptation was facing. This movie was arguably going for much of the same audience that "Fantastic Beasts" was and, quite frankly, it should not have been this close. It speaks volumes about how much families like this franchise and how much Warner Bros. fumbled the ball with "Dumbledore."

"Sonic 2" is already at $231 million worldwide and is all but guaranteed to pass the gross of its predecessor ($319 million) in the coming weeks. Paramount already has plans for a third entry and a spin-off series centered on Knuckles in the works, which makes them look very smart in hindsight. Yes, this is based on pre-existing IP but it's very good that new movie franchises can still be created in the modern marketplace. Especially if they aren't coming from Disney and the love can be spread elsewhere.

Everything Everywhere All At Once continues to show promise

In more promising news, A24's much-acclaimed "Everything Everywhere All At Once" expanded even further this weekend into more than 2,200 theaters. The good news is that it came in at number four with $6.1 million, a slight increase from last week's total. That puts its domestic total at $17.7 million which is great for this kind of movie. Though it does carry a $25 million budget so it still has a long way to go. But the numbers so far suggest this one could have some legs and good word of mouth. If it somehow ends up in the Oscar conversation later this year, this could be a slow-burn home run for A24 and a bigger win for original hits in the theatrical marketplace. Let's not get ahead of ourselves just yet but this may well prove to be one of the pleasant surprises of 2022 if things continue to go well.

And the rest...

To capitalize on Easter, Sony Pictures released the faith-based "Father Stu" in 2,700 theaters. The bad news for them is that Mark Wahlberg's latest grossed just $5.7 million, coming in at number five. This one also figures to fade fast in the coming weeks, meaning it is probably going to be a theatrical disaster, as its international prospects are not great given that it's a very American, religious-centered movie. Not great, and there's not a whole lot of divine wisdom to impart beyond that.

In more good news for Paramount, "The Lost City" continued to hold extremely well, coming in at number three in its fourth weekend, taking in $6.5 million. That's just a 28% drop from last week, and it now sits at $78.5 million domestically. Its international total is only $9.7 million but that figures to grow as more markets are added in the coming weeks. With a $68 million budget, you've gotta figure this one needs to get somewhere near $150 million, if not closer to $175 million to be an outright theatrical hit, but this is encouraging for the future of the rom-com beyond the streaming world at the very least.

Sony also took it in the teeth with "Morbius" as the Marvel Comics adaptation once again plunged in its third week with just $4.7 million. It now sits at a mere $146 million worldwide which is downright lousy for a superhero movie with an Oscar-winning actor (Jared Leto) in the lead role. The studio may need to rethink its strategy with these "Spider-Man" spin-offs and soon.

Michael Bay's "Ambulance" also didn't fare great, coming in at number seven with $4 million, but its global total is $40.4 million so it has at least made its budget back. Though that is not at all what Universal was hoping and this is a blow for mid-budget programming, which certainly seems like something that can/should be explored more as studios look for ways to win big outside of big franchises.

Looking ahead, we've got a jam-packed weekend with "The Northman," "The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent," and "The Bad Guys" all opening. How that shakes out will be fascinating to watch as it's tough to imagine there is room for everyone to thrive here.