Fantastic Beasts is fantastically popular with moviegoers. Harry Potter prequel Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them leads movie-ticket site Fandango.com’s survey of the most anticipated fall movies.
The poll of 1,000 moviegoers (evenly split between men and women) included releases through Thanksgiving weekend, shining the brightest light on author J.K. Rowling’s anticipated return to the big screen Nov. 18.
The new America-centric story centers around wizard Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) and has been glimpsed in evocative trailers which arrived amid the hype of the London staging of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
“All of this excitement around the Harry Potter universe is feeding into Fantastic Beasts,” says Erik Davis, Fandango.com managing editor. “It’s all about timing and Harry Potter’s world is clicking with great, calculated timing right now.”
Established stars exploring new arenas dominate the top 10 list, with Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt’s anti-heroic cowboys in Antoine Fuqua’s The Magnificent Seven (in theaters Sept. 23) ranking No. 2. Benedict Cumberbatchenters the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Doctor Strange (Nov. 4), third on the list.
Emily Blunt’s starring role in the mystery thriller The Girl on the Train (Oct. 7), adapted from the best-selling novel, landed fourth. Ben Affleck will take off the Batman suit to star as a lethal Mob bookkeeper with Anna Kendrick in The Accountant (Oct. 14), No. 7 on the list.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson undergoes the biggest makeover, singing and getting animated in Disney’s musical Moana, which opens Nov. 23 and ranks fifth. Moana will have the added benefit of songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda in his first post-Hamilton project.
“This is Disney’s first music-driven animated film since Frozen,” Davis says. “All of this could make for fall’s biggest hit.”
Veteran stars revisiting beloved roles also have audience appeal, with Renée Zellweger and Colin Firth returning in Bridget Jones’s Baby (Sept. 16, ranking No. 6).Tom Cruise follows up 2012’s Jack Reacher with sequel Never Go Back (Oct. 21, No. 8).
Tom Hanks’ returns for the third time to Dan Brown’s literary world as sleuthing professor of religious iconology Robert Langdon in Inferno (Oct. 28, No. 9).
“Big names in these roles sell a lot of tickets, especially with an adult audience passing on their love of these characters to a new generation,” Davis says.
Kevin Hart: What Now? (Oct. 14), Hart’s return to comedy shows, rounds out the top 10.
“Kevin Hart is one of the biggest stars in the world right now,” Davis says. “People love his movies, but they also love his stand-up.”
1. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
2. The Magnificent Seven
3. Doctor Strange
4. The Girl on the Train
6. Bridget Jones’s Baby
7. The Accountant
8. Jack Reacher: Never Go Back
10. Kevin Hart: What Now?
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