The film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them — another foray into the world of wizardry from Harry Potter author JK Rowling — topped North American box offices in its debut as it took in $75 million.
It confirms Warner Bros' high hopes for the property and its decision to back five installments in the fantasy series. The film is a spin-off of the Harry Potter films, but instead of Hogwarts, it unfolds in 1920s New York City and features an entirely new cast of wizards and mythical creatures.
The studio spent $180 million to make the picture, enlisting Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling to write the screenplay and bringing back David Yates, the director of several previous boy wizard outings.
It grabbed first place away from Marvel's Doctor Strange, which dropped to second in its third week in theaters as it posted another $17.7 million, for a total of $181.5 million.
The film, which stars Benedict Cumberbatch as neurosurgeon Stephen Strange — whose life changes forever after a horrific car accident robs him of use of his hands — is the 14th film in Disney's Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
DreamWorks Animation's Trolls dropped from second to third as it earned $17.5 million in revenue, box office tracker Exhibitor Relations said. Based on the classic plastic dolls known for their multi-colored hair, Trolls, featuring the voices of Justin Timberlake and Anna Kendrick, has reaped a total of $116.2 million in three weeks.
Mel Gibson's war movie Hacksaw Ridge took sixth place with $6.8 million and has now chalked up a total of $42.9 million. The film tells the true story of World War II army medic Desmond Doss, a conscientious objector who went on to receive the Medal of Honor despite refusing to carry a weapon.
(Compiled using agency inputs)