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‘Doctor Strange’ banishes ‘Trolls’ and ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ to reign supreme at the box office

Doctor Strange review
Image used with permission by copyright holder
It was a magical weekend for Marvel’s Doctor Strange, which easily earned the top spot at the box office with a higher-than-expected opening weekend. The introduction of Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch as surgeon-turned-sorcerer Stephen Strange raked in an impressive $84.9 million in U.S. theaters, extending Marvel’s streak of opening weekend winners and pushing Disney past the $6 billion mark for the year — a feat achieved by only one other studio in Hollywood history.

While it was an exceptionally good weekend for Doctor Strange, all three of this week’s major new releases enjoyed respectable debuts — both critically and commercially.

As far as Marvel movies go, the opening weekend for Doctor Strange was the tenth best debut of the 14 films in the studio’s cinematic universe, ranking above the premieres of The Incredible Hulk, Ant-Man, Captain America: The First Avenger, and Thor. The film also fared well critically, earning a 90 percent “Fresh” rating on professional review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes and an “A” rating on audience-based review aggregator CinemaScore.

# Title Weekend U.S. Total Worldwide Total
1. Doctor Strange $84.9M $84.9M $325.3M
2. Trolls $45.6M $45.6M $149.6M
3. Hacksaw Ridge $14.7M $14.7M $14.7M
4. Boo! A Madea Halloween $7.8M $64.9M $65.6M
5. Inferno $6.2M $26M $185.3M
6. The Accountant $5.9M $70.8M $109.3M
7. Jack Reacher: Never Go Back $5.5M $49.2M $111.9M
8. Ouija: Origin of Evil $3.9M $31.3M $64.4M
9. The Girl on the Train $2.7M $70.7M $140.6M
10. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children $2.1M $83.3M $253.4M

Also making big — and positive — debuts over the weekend were the musical animated feature Trolls, which took second place and earned similarly rave reviews, and war drama Hacksaw Ridge, which was directed by Mel Gibson and received more good reviews while outperforming expectations. All three of the weekend’s top films earned the sort of reviews that typically suggest they’ll have a strong run, but anything can happen as we enter the holiday season and more big-ticket films start hitting theaters.

The rest of the weekend’s top ten films were all returning features, with Ron Howard and Tom Hanks’ Inferno continuing its lackluster run in U.S. theaters while doing significantly better overseas, and Tyler Perry’s comedy sequel A Madea Halloween finally vacating the top spot after a two-week run at the top of the domestic box office.

This upcoming week’s highest-profile new release is the sci-fi drama Arrival from Sicario director Denis Villeneuve, which will compete with Ang Lee’s military drama Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk and the holiday comedy Almost Christmas, among other debuting films.

Rick Marshall
A veteran journalist with more than two decades of experience covering local and national news, arts and entertainment, and…
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