Marvel’s Doctor Strange cures struggling US box office

A strong batch of new films drew audiences to US theaters in large numbers this weekend, including Marvel’s Doctor Strange, the animated Trolls and Mel Gibson’s second world war drama Hacksaw Ridge, waking up a sleepy fall box office. The top three films all received largely positive reviews from critics.

As the superhero in the bunch, Doctor Strange easily dominated with $85m in North American theaters, according to studio estimates on Sunday. Starring Benedict Cumberbatch as a neurosurgeon turned sorcerer, Doctor Strange opened internationally last weekend. It has already grossed $325.4m globally.

It’s the 14th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the 14th to open at No 1. As one of the lesser-known properties, it far surpassed Ant-Man’s $57.2m launch, but fell a little short of Guardians of the Galaxy’s $94.3m debut.

Much of the Doctor Strange business came from premium large format screens and 3D showings, which, according to RealD, made up 47% of the domestic gross.

DreamWorks Animation’s Trolls, a family-friendly musical featuring the voices of Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake, took second place with $45.6m in North America, and $30m internationally. In addition to being one of the first new family films to hit the market in a few weeks, the film had the added benefit of an original hit song from Timberlake, Can’t Stop the Feeling.

And in third place, Hacksaw Ridge, Gibson’s film about the true story of the conscientious objector Desmond Doss’s heroics during the battle of Okinawa, earned $14.8m. The independently financed film cost a reported $40m to make.

Holdovers populated spots four and five. Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween dropped 55% in its third weekend in theaters. It made $7.8m, bringing its total earnings to $65m.

Perry managed to beat out Inferno again, which brought in only $6.3m in weekend two to take fifth place. The Tom Hanks-starrer has grossed $26.1m to date.

In limited release, the likely awards film Loving, about the true story of the couple behind the supreme court decision that invalidated laws against interracial marriage, opened in four theaters to $169,000.

Check out the Nov. 4-6 weekend box office estimates below:

1. Doctor Strange – $85 million
2. Trolls – $45.6 million
3. Hacksaw Ridge – $14.8 million
4. Boo! A Madea Halloween – $7.8 million
5. Inferno – $6.3 million
6. The Accountant – $6 million
7. Jack Reacher: Never Go Back – $5.6 million
8. Ouija: Origin of Evil – $4 million
9. The Girl on the Train – $2.8 million
10. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – $2.1 million

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