‘Fantastic Beasts’ Summons $74.4 million, Tops Box Office

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kicking off a five-film franchise spun off from the Harry Potter universe, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” debuted to a healthy $74.4 million this weekend. The $180 million production benefited from lingering Harry Potter goodwill, but failed to reach the heights of those films in its first weekend.

The J.K Rowling creation unseated “Doctor Strange” from its two-week run at No. 1. “Strange” still managed to pull in $17.8 million, bringing its domestic total to $181.6 million.

The strength of the top five films, including holdovers “Trolls,” ”Arrival” and “Almost Christmas” left little room for the other new openers, like the R-rated high school dramedy “The Edge of Seventeen,” which debuted outside of the top 10 with $4.8 million and the fact-based boxing drama “Bleed for This,” which took in $2.4 million.

Meanwhile, Ang Lee’s technologically ambitious wartime drama “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” bombed in its expansion, earning only $901,062 from 1,176 locations for an abysmal $766 per screen average.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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