It looks like Newt Scamander has defeated Doctor Strange for the title of Sorcerer Supreme at the box office.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and the spinoff of the Harry Potter franchise, earned $29.7 million on Friday at 4,144 locations. Fantastic Beasts is now projected to take in $76 million by the end of its opening weekend. While that's enough for Fantastic Beasts to claim this weekend's number one spot, it is less than Marvel's Doctor Strange opened with ($85 million) and less than the first Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (90.3 million).
It isn't unexpected that Doctor Strange, the box office winner for the last two weeks, should cede its position to the latest franchise blockbuster to open in theaters. In its third week at the box office, Doctor Strange is in a tight battle for second place with DreamWorks Animation's Trolls. Doctor Strange earned about $4.9 million on Friday, while Trolls earned $4 million, but both are expected to earn about $17.4 million by the end of the weekend.
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In Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the year is 1926, and Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) has just completed a global excursion to find and document an extraordinary array of magical creatures. Arriving in New York for a brief stopover, he might have come and gone without incident, were it not for a No-Maj (American for Muggle) named Jacob, a misplaced magical case, and the escape of some of Newt's fantastic beasts, which could spell trouble for both the wizarding and No-Maj worlds.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is the screenwriting debut of Harry Potter author JK Rowling and is directing by Harry Potter movie veteran David Yates. Fantastic Beasts stars Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander with Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller, Samantha Morton, Jon Voight, Carmen Ejogo and Colin Farrell.
In Marvel's Doctor Strange, Dr. Stephen Strange's (Benedict Cumberbatch) life changes after a car accident robs him of the use of his hands. When traditional medicine fails him, he looks for healing, and hope, in a mysterious enclave. He quickly learns that the enclave is at the front line of a battle against unseen dark forces bent on destroying reality. Before long, Strange is forced to choose between his life of fortune and status or leave it all behind to defend the world as the most powerful sorcerer in existence.