Moviegoers rush to 'Doctor Strange,' 'Arrival' post-election

A holiday weekend and the drama of the presidential election helped most films do well at the box office, as Americans flocked to theaters to "unplug."

Jay Maidment/Disney/Marvel via AP
This image released by Disney shows Benedict Cumberbatch in a scene from Marvel's "Doctor Strange."

Moviegoers drained by the drama of the presidential election sought refuge at the movies over the weekend, where ticket sales were robust for just about everything.

Marvel's "Doctor Strange" led the North American box office for the second week with $43 million, according to studio estimates Sunday. That was an especially strong hold for the Benedict Cumberbatch-led superhero blockbuster, which is now nearing $500 million globally. "Trolls," the musical animated release from 20th Century Fox with Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake, also held well in its second week with $35.1 million, bringing its cumulative domestic total to $94 million.

Denis Villeneuve's science-fiction thriller "Arrival," starring Amy Adams, scored the weekend's top debut with a better-than-expected $24 million for Paramount Pictures. Opening in fourth was Universal Pictures' "Almost Christmas," the first holiday-themed release to hit theaters. The family gathering comedy, starring Danny Glover and Gabrielle Union, debuted with $15.6 million.

The weekend box office was up about 47 percent from last year, according to comScore. The Friday holiday of Veteran's Day also helped stoke business. Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for comScore, said the wide variety of releases gave moviegoers plenty of choice for escapism over the postelection weekend.

"In the first weekend after the election, I think it's clear that people find being able to go to the movie theater is the perfect antidote to the election coverage," said Mr. Dergarabedian. "There's almost nowhere else that you can unplug the way you can when you go to the movie theater."

The good showing for "Arrival," which cost $47 million to produce, was a welcome relief for Paramount. The studio has endured a string of disappointments -- including "Ben-Hur" and "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows" -- with a relatively thin slate of releases.

Paramount paid $20 million for the film's domestic distribution rights. The film, in which a linguist is tasked by the government to communicate with newly arrived aliens, has drawn good reviews from critics.

Ang Lee's Iraq War hero drama "Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk" also made its much awaited debuted, albeit on just two screens. The Sony Pictures release, which opens nationwide next week, grossed $120,300 from two theaters (one in New York, on in Los Angeles). The two locations are the only places in North America the film is screening in Lee's innovative 120 frames-per-second version (five times the normal rate), in addition to being in 3-D and at 4k resolution.

Playing in more traditional formats, it got off to a good start in China, where "Billy Lynn" opened with $11.7 million.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to comScore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.

1. "Doctor Strange," $43 million ($60.2 million international).

2. "Trolls," $35.1 million ($18.3 million international).

3. "Arrival," $24 million ($10 million international).

4. "Almost Christmas," $15.6 million.

5. "Hacksaw Ridge," $10.8 million ($3.7 million international).

6. "The Accountant," $4.6 million ($7.6 million international).

7. "Shut In," $3.7 million.

8. "Tyler Perry's Boo! A Madea Halloween," $3.6 million.

9. "Jack Reacher: Never Go Back," $3.3 million ($8.6 million international).

10. "Inferno," $3.3 million ($8.6 million international).

___

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at international theaters (excluding the U.S. and Canada), according to comScore:

1. "Doctor Strange," $60.2 million.

2. "Trolls," $18.3 million.

3. "Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk," $13.2 million.

4. "Arrival," $10 million.

5. "One Piece Film: Gold," $10 million.

6. "Inferno," $8.6 million.

7. "Jack Reacher: Never Go Back," $8.6 million.

8. "The Accountant," $7.6 million.

9. "Oujia: Origin of Evil," $6.3 million.

10. "The Girl on the Train," $6.3 million.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

QR Code to Moviegoers rush to 'Doctor Strange,' 'Arrival' post-election
Read this article in
https://www.csmonitor.com/The-Culture/2016/1113/Moviegoers-rush-to-Doctor-Strange-Arrival-post-election
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today
https://www.csmonitor.com/subscribe