Fantastic Beasts sequel conjures up a North American number one hit

Poor reviews didn't dampen fans' excitement for the new Harry Potter prequel film.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald has cast its spell over the North American box office with a $62 million (£48.3 million) debut.

The second film in the Harry Potter prequel franchise, starring Eddie Redmayne, Jude Law, and Johnny Depp, enchanted moviegoers to fly to number one despite poor reviews, although it fell short of the success of 2016's Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which previously opened with $74 million (£57.6 million), and went on to gross $234 million (£182 million) in North America alone.

Despite the lower-than-expected launch, Warner Bros. studio officials are happy with its box office performance, and are confident ticket sales will be given a boost from Thanksgiving holiday crowds later this week (ends23Nov18).

"We're extremely pleased with the opening weekend and think it will play well over the holidays," Ron Sanders, president of worldwide distribution, tells Variety. "Clearly the brilliance of what (author J.K. Rowling) created is something fans continue to embrace."

Internationally, the Fantastic Beasts sequel also conjured up big earnings, bringing in an additional $191 million (£148.7 million) outside the U.S. and Canada for an estimated global total of $253 million (£197 million).

Meanwhile, back in North America, the animated The Grinch, featuring the voice of Benedict Cumberbatch as the grumpy Dr. Seuss character, falls to second place with $38.1 million (£29.7 million) in its second weekend on release, ahead of Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody at three.

Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne's new comedy Instant Family and Steve McQueen's Widows round out the new top five.

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