After getting a huge mid-weekend surge, Disney-Marvel’s inaugural “Doctor Strange” topped the weekend box office, grossing an estimated $85 million during its opening three-day frame.
That’s significantly higher than predictions of $73 million made earlier last week — a magical way to kick off another would-be franchise within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The Benedict Cumberbatch movie has now amassed more than $240 million overseas and is the 14th consecutive title in the MCU to debut in first place domestically.
It also marked the biggest November debut off all time for IMAX, earning $24.2 million globally this weekend from 1,001 of its large-format screens in 66 markets.
A huge 47 percent of its domestic opening came from 3D screens, with RealD 3D representing $24 million of the weekend’s $85 million total.
The first film adaptation of the comic book series is bringing in a tidy sum from 3,882 locations against its sizable production budget of $165 million — not counting marketing costs.
DreamWorks Animation’s “Trolls” came in second with an estimated $45.6 million on its three-day debut, just shy of the $47 million predicted by trackers early last week.
The animated feature is playing in 4,060 theaters, is being distributed by Twentieth Century Fox — a leftover from DWA’s output deal before it was acquired by Universal’s Comcast earlier this year.
“Trolls,” made for a reported $125 million, features the voices of pop stars Justin Timberlake and Gwen Stefani, along with Anna Kendrick, Zooey Deschanel, and more. It revolves around an extremely happy Troll named Poppy (Kendrick), who teams up with the grumpy Branch (Timberlake) to rescue her friends from invaders.
“Trolls” had the fourth biggest opening of the year for an animated feature, behind Disney’s “Zootopia” — which went on to top $1 billion worldwide. The DWA movie has already made $104 million overseas.
It has a 74 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and an A CinemaScore — given by those surveyed on opening night.
Mel Gibson marks his directorial return with Cross Creek Pictures’ World War II drama “Hacksaw Ridge,” being distributed by Lionsgate and playing in 2,886 locations. And it’s already receiving heavy awards season buzz.
Starring Andrew Garfield as a conscientious objector who saved dozens of soldiers’ lives in Japan, the film bowed to an estimated $14.8 million in third place. That’s a solid opening for a film reported to have cost $40 million to make, not counting the marketing spend.
It has an 87 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and a solid A CinemaScore.
Rounding out the top five are holdovers — Lionsgate’s “Boo! A Madea Halloween” and Sony’s “Inferno” (see figures below).
Meanwhile, “Doctor Strange” has a 90 percent on the reviews aggregation site and also an A CinemaScore.
The movie about the Sorcerer Supreme came in just shy “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” to earn 19th place among Marvel movie openings. The Fox film starring Hugh Jackman opened to $85.1 million in 2009.
It easily topped Fox’s “X-Men Apocalypse” — which debuted at $65.8 million earlier this year — and also came in ahead of the debuts of Disney-Marvel’s “Ant-Man” ($57 million) and “Captain America: The First Avenger” ($65 million).
This weekend’s big domestic opening for “Doctor Strange” is a massive achievement for an inaugural comic book film — especially one based on a relatively unfamiliar Marvel property not previously seen on the big screen.
Among Hollywood studios, Disney currently has the largest market share of box office grosses this year with $2.15 billion, or 23.4 percent. Warner Bros. is a distant second with $1.63 billion or 17.6 percent.
With tentpole films “Doctor Strange,” and also Disney’s animated “Moana” and Lucasfilm’s “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” set to come out, Disney could end the year with an even higher percentage of the pie. But Warner Bros. still has a potential monster hit in its back pocket with the adaptation of J.K. Rowling’s “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.”
“Doctor Strange” follows the story of talented neurosurgeon Dr. Stephen Strange who, after a tragic car accident, must put ego aside and learn the secrets of a hidden world of mysticism and alternate dimensions.
The Top Five:
1. “Doctor Strange” (Disney) — $85 million in Week 1 ($85 million total)
2. “Trolls” (20th Century Fox) — $45.6 million in Week 1 ($45.6 million total)
3. “Hacksaw Ridge” (Lionsgate) — $14.8 million in Week 1 ($14.8 million total)
4. “Boo! A Madea Halloween” (Lionsgate) — $7.8 million in Week 3 ($65 million total)
5. “Inferno” (Sony) — $6.3 million in Week 2 ($26.1 million total)