Paramount Pictures’ new sci-fi drama “Arrival” pulled away from Universal’s holiday-themed comedy “Almost Christmas” as the Amy Adams film performed better than expected, earning an estimated $24 million on its weekend debut.
But Disney-Marvel’s holdover hit “Doctor Strange” came out on top in its second weekend, earning $43 million, and putting Disney over the top as its highest-grossing year on record with $2.31 billion in domestic box office grosses.
This weekend’s new movies also couldn’t beat DreamWorks Animation’s “Trolls” in its second weekend, earning the No. 2 spot with an estimated $35.1 million.
“Doctor Strange” earned $85.1 million last weekend when “Trolls” grossed $46.6 million.
Meanwhile, EuropaCorp thriller “Shut In” was shut out of the top five, debuting to roughly $3.7 million — much lower than initial estimates.
Here’s the breakdown:
The current domestic cumulative of “Doctor Strange” is $153 million.
Fox’s “Trolls” now has a domestic total of $94 million.
Off glowing reviews, “Arrival” handily beat estimates of $17 million made earlier in the week by roughly $7 million. It’s playing in 2,317 locations and was made for $47 million, not counting marketing costs. (Paramount acquired U.S., Canadian and China distribution rights out of the Cannes Film Festival in 2014 for $20 million.)
It stars Amy Adams as a language expert who risks her life in an attempt to communicate with the inhabitants of a mysterious spacecraft. The film also features Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker, Michael Stuhlbarg and Mark O’Brien, and was directed by Denis Villeneuve (“Prisoners”).
“Arrival” passed with flying colors when it screened on the festival circuit earlier this year and currently has a 93 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes. It has a B CinemaScore, graded by those surveyed on opening night.
Predictions for “Almost Christmas” virtually match those made earlier last week as it earned an estimated $15.6 million to take fourth place. The film, playing in 2,376 locations, has a not-so-fresh 44 percent on Rotten Tomatoes; but it has an A- CinemaScore, indicating audiences enjoyed it.
Written and directed by David E. Talbert (“Baggage Claim”), the comedy stars Kimberly Elise, Omar Epps, Danny Glover, Romany Malco, Mo’Nique, Nicole Ari Parker, J.B. Smoove, Gabrielle Union, Jessie Usher and DC Young Fly. The film was tracking strongest among African-American women.
“Almost Christmas” was produced for $17 million. It centers on the family patriarch’s one wish as his family gathers for five days over the holiday: to get along.
In EuropaCorp’s “Shut In,” Naomi Watts plays a child psychologist whose son (Charlie Heaton of “Stranger Things”) becomes bedridden following a car accident that killed her husband.
After the movie made only $1.4 million on Friday night, its three-day estimates sharply declined. It has a paltry zero percent on Rotten Tomatoes and a C CinemaScore.
“Room” star Jacob Tremblay is also in the PG-13 thriller, screening in 2,058 theaters. He plays a young patient who goes missing, is later presumed dead, and appears to haunt the psychologist’s home in rural New England during a dangerous winter storm.
“Hacksaw Ridge” rounded out the top five, earning $10.8 million in its second weekend.
The Top Five:
1. “Doctor Strange” (Disney) — $43 million in Week 2 ($153 million total)
2. “Trolls” (20th Century Fox) — $35.1 million in Week 2 ($94 million total)
4. “Arrival” (Paramount) — $24 million in Week 1 ($24 million total)
5. “Almost Christmas” (Universal) — $15.6 million in Week 1 ($15.6 million total)
5. “Hacksaw Ridge” (Lionsgate) — $10.8 million in Week 2 ($32.3 million total)