Weekend Box Office: Just What the Doctor Ordered

Each of the weekend’s three wide movies releases performed very well at the box office. Marvel’s newest superhero made a grade introduction, DreamWorks Animation’s second 2016 release earned $10 million above expectations, and Mel Gibson’s low-budget war drama won over audiences. After several weeks of mostly bad news, it’s nice to report on some big successes.

With only two exceptions, Marvel’s sequels and ensemble team-ups significantly outgross its character introduction films. ‘Thor’, ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’, ‘Ant-Man’ and ‘The Incredible Hulk’ all opened between $55 million and $65 million – well below the likes of ‘Thor: The Dark World’ ($86.1 million) or ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ ($96.2 million), much less ‘Captain America: Civil War’ ($179.1 million), ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ ($191.2 million) or ‘The Avengers’ ($207.4 million). However, this week, ‘Doctor Strange‘ joined the ranks of ‘Iron Man’ ($98.6 million) and ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ ($94.3 million) in the upper echelon of Marvel origin stories.

‘Doctor Strange’ not only worked its magic on all 3,882 screens in North America, but also in every international market in which the movie is playing. Domestically, it opened almost exactly on track with expectations. Studio predictions put it at $85 million and Sunday estimates place its debut at $84.9 million. The international roll-out started last weekend, but it certainly hasn’t lost any stream there. This weekend it grossed $118.7 million overseas, bringing its international total to $240.4 million. To date, the $165 million comic book flick has made $325.3 million worldwide. Some magic, eh?

While the actual quality of DreamWorks Animation’s latest release, ‘Trolls‘, is definitely questionable, moviegoers still turned out in droves to see it. From 4,060 screens, the CG animated family film pulled in $45.6 million and landed in second place. With a head-start in some international markets, its overseas total now sits at $104 million. As of now, the colorful music- and dance-filled movie has grossed $149.6 million worldwide. Given its $125 million budget, the end result won’t be as profitable as Universal’s ‘The Secret Life of Pets’ was this year, but the movie still won’t have any trouble turning a dollar.

Mel Gibson’s latest directorial effort may not have crushed the competition like ‘Doctor Strange’ and ‘Trolls’ did, but it opened right in line with expectations. From 2,886 locations, ‘Hacksaw Ridge‘ collected $14.7 million. In addition to the good turnout for the weekend, it’s also had fantastic word-of-mouth. Produced on a $40 million budget, it’s fighting somewhat of an uphill battle, but shouldn’t have any issues reaching profitability once its international roll-out kicks off.

After two weeks atop the charts, Tyler Perry’s ‘Boo! A Medea Halloween‘ slid into fourth place. Last week, the film’s attendance drop-off was much lighter than most of Perry’s movies. With that, you might have expected this week to show the usual first-week percentage fall – especially because the movie’s title holiday is now behind us. Somehow, it didn’t. Instead, it held on quite well. Its third weekend resulted in $7.8 million and a milder-than-usual 54% decline. After 17 days, ‘Boo!’ has $64.9 million, which is excellent for a little $20 million comedy.

Last week’s big disappointment, Ron Howard’s adaptation of Dan Brown’s ‘Inferno‘, took an extra heavy second-week hit that caused it fall from second place to fifth. With attendance down 58%, the Tom Hanks vehicle only made $6.2 million this weekend. After ten days on North American screens, the mystery drama has only accumulated $26 million. To give that some perspective, the first ‘Da Vinci Code’ movie earned more in its first day than ‘Inferno’ has in ten. Sony’s saving grace despite this domestic flop is the film’s international performance. It has grossed $159.3 million overseas, bringing its worldwide total up to $185.3 million.

In limited release, Jeff Nichols’ historical drama ‘Loving‘ saw a great turnout from its four-screen debut. With a $169,000 opening, the Focus feature had a stellar $42,250 per-screen average. With Oscar buzz building, it shouldn’t be long before ‘Loving’ expands wider.

Opening numbers have yet to be announced for the Ewan McGregor-directed ‘American Pastoral’.

Top 10:

1. ‘Doctor Strange’ (Buena Vista) – $84,989,000

2. ‘Trolls’ (Fox) – $45,600,000

3. ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ (Lionsgate) – $14,750,000

4. ‘Boo! A Madea Halloween’ (Lionsgate) – $7,800,000

5. ‘Inferno’ (Sony) – $6,250,000

6. ‘The Accountant’ (Warner Bros.) – $5,950,000

7. ‘Jack Reacher: Never Go Back’ (Paramount) – $5,580,000

8. ‘Ouija: Origin of Evil’ (Universal) – $3,983,000

9. ‘The Girl on the Train’ (Universal) – $2,775,000

10. ‘Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children’ (Fox) – $2,100,000

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