HomeStandard PeopleAnother hit from the Harry Potter franchise

Another hit from the Harry Potter franchise

HARRY Potter spinoff Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them managed to spell cinema goers with a bout of nostalgia to take the box office top spot last weekend.

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A scene from the movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
A scene from the movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

In so doing, the previous week’s winner Doctor Strange was effectively removed from the number one spot of the box office table, showing the magic of Harry Potter still lives on.

The same studio behind Harry Potter is also behind Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, that is, Warner Brothers.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a spinoff of the Harry Potter franchise which consists of books, merchandise and films. On the film side, the franchise spawned eight films that grossed a staggering $7,72 billion in global box office receipts.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them scored an impressive $74,4 million in the United States for a global haul of $219,9 million, according to box office tracker Box Office Mojo.

The spinoff was a highly-anticipated film due to its close links to the Harry Potter franchise which was a major cash cow for its studio Warner Brothers.

As a refresher course, Harry Potter tells the story about a boy of the same name who would grow up to defeat the most evil wizard of all time Lord Voldemort. In the end, Potter did defeat Voldemort in the last film for the franchise Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 released in 2011.

But, in order to grow into being the saviour, Potter first had to learn and attended a high school called Hogwarts which trained magic possessing youths to harness their powers.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them focuses on the adventures of the author of one of the Hogwarts curriculum textbooks of the same name called Newt Scamander. The textbook focused on magical creatures and how to combat them if the students ever encountered any of them face to face.

The film, Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them starts off in 1926, when Scamander, played by Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne, completes a global excursion to find and document an extraordinary array of magical creatures.

Arriving in New York for a brief stopover, Scamander might have come and gone without incident, were it not for a No-Maj (American for Muggle) named Jacob (Dan Fogler), a misplaced magical case, and the escape of some of Newt’s fantastic beasts. This spells trouble which then threatens the wizard and No-Maj worlds.

As a result, Scamander and the friends he has enlisted must quickly deal with the trouble before it is too late.

In terms of special effects, cinematography and stunts, the film was superb with many throwbacks to what made Harry Potter a movie spectacle. The film’s story was well woven together to produce an exceptional story.

One of the elements that made Harry Potter popular were the light-hearted comedy, fight sequences and the spell casting chants by wizards. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was no exception and had many of those trademark Harry Potter banter while also adding its own spin.

Thankfully, international critic website Rotten Tomatoes awarded the film a rating of 77%.

As of Wednesday, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them grossed $101,48 million in the United States for a global haul of $272,18 million. Oh, did I forget to mention this is just in one week off a reported $180 million production budget!

Going into this weekend is a film which is primed to upend Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them run, the 3D animation Moana.

Moana, voiced by Auli’I Cravalho, is a story about an adventurous teenager of the same name who sails out on a daring mission to save her people. During her journey, Moana meets the once-mighty demigod Maui (voice by Hollywood man of the moment Dwayne Johnson), who guides her in her quest to become a master way-finder.

Together, they sail across the open ocean on an action-packed voyage, encountering enormous monsters and impossible odds. Along the way, Moana fulfils the ancient quest of her ancestors and discovers the one thing she always sought: her own identity.

As was with the case of hits Finding Dory and Zootopia, Disney studio latest offering Moana looks like a kid -pleasing movie.

What works well is the film’s underlying theme of discovering your identity in a world so divided and polarised which makes who you are hard to be.

Of course, for a 3D animation film to do well, it has to resonate with older audiences and with the theme of discovering oneself, Disney effectively managed to lure older audiences.

Moana is a film about doing what you are meant to do and never giving up trying to achieve it.

The quips in the film and relationship between Moana and Maui remain the heart of the story. Although Johnson could not be seen in the film, his presence can definitely be felt.

Moana currently enjoys a well-deserved 97% rating from Rotten Tomatoes.

The film is estimated to open with a plus $85 million debut due to this weekend being the thanksgiving weekend, a holiday tradition celebrating their holiday Thanksgiving in the United States which as a result will see many people out at the cinemas.

Disney is expected to further add to its bludgeoning $6 billion global box office ticket sales with Moana, which is expected to take first place, followed by Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and then Doctor Strange on third position.

Doctor Strange as of Wednesday grossed $189,21 million in the United States for a global haul of $579,67 million.

Other new releases include Bad Santa 2, the R-rated sequel to 2003’s Bad Santa.

In Bad Santa 2, the crotchety Willie T Stokes played by Billy Bob Thornton and his partner (Tony Cox) reunite once a year for a holiday con. Posing as a mall Santa and his elf, they rip off shopping outlets on Christmas Eve.

This year, however, Willie is falling apart. He’s depressed and alcoholic, and his erratic behaviour draws the suspicion of mall security (Bernie Mac). But befriending a small boy brings out his kinder side, and Willie begins to wonder if there is still some hope for him.

Bad Santa 2 is classified as a black comedy which means the film contains language and actions only suitable for an older audience.

Waiting to release a sequel after more than five years, in this case 10, only works if it is somewhat reinvented to attract the audiences that watched it as well as attracting new ones.

However, Bad Santa 2 suffers due it having the same shtick as its predecessor, failing to deliver new material. Of course, Stokes having a mid-life crisis of sorts is new but fails to stick to the formula of presenting it in a comedic way though it has a good premise.

Rotten Tomatoes agreed when they gave the film a 25% down from the 2003 predecessor which had a 75% rating.

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