Entertainment & Arts

Fantastic Beasts has UK's biggest opening weekend of 2016

Eddie Redmayne and JK Rowling Image copyright PA
Image caption Eddie Redmayne stars in the film, which was written by JK Rowling

Harry Potter spin-off Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them has had the biggest UK box office opening weekend of the year so far.

The film, written by JK Rowling and starring Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander, took a total of £15.3m.

It is the third highest opening weekend from the JK Rowling series, behind the two final Harry Potter films.

Warner Bros executive Josh Berger said: "We are thrilled with the huge response from British and Irish audiences."

The film also worked its magic at North American cinemas, taking an estimated $75m (£61m) over the weekend - more than the rest of the US box office top 10 combined.

'Positive reviews'

Harry Potter creator Rowling has planned scripts for a total of five films in the series.

The first instalment is set in New York, and tells the story of a fictional author mentioned in the Potter stories.

Redmayne plays the part of the animal-loving magizoologist Newt Scamander, who visits New York's secret community of witches and wizards.

The film is set 70 years before Harry Potter reads his book at his school, Hogwarts.

It has received broadly positive reviews from critics.

North American box office top five
1. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them - $75m (£61m)
2. Doctor Strange - $17.7m (£14.3m)
3. Trolls - $17.5m (£14.1m)
4. Arrival - $11.8m (£9.6m)
5. Almost Christmas - £7m (£5.7m)
Source: ComScore

The opening weekend haul in the US and Canada was lower than for any of the Harry Potter films, however.

Elsewhere in the box office charts, Benedict Cumberbatch's Doctor Strange fell to second with $17.7m (£14.3m), with Trolls third on $17.5m (£14.1m).

Sci-fi movie Arrival, starring Amy Adams, took fourth spot with $11.8m (£9.5m), while the comedy Almost Christmas, starring Danny Glover and Gabrielle Union, rounded out the top five with $7m (£5.7m).

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