“Arrival” Makes It to Third as “Strange,” “Trolls” Repeat


November 11-13, 2016

(estimates from BoxOfficeMojo.com)



Doctor Strange $43.0 million
Trolls $35.0 million
Arrival $24.0 million
Almost Christmas  $15.5 million
Hacksaw Ridge $10.7 million


In these strange times, American audiences went to see the Doctor for a second straight weekend. The latest Marvel movie dropped about 50 percent but retained the top spot, earning an estimated $43 million. It's already surpassed 2008's The Incredible Hulk and should pass last year's Ant-Man by the end of next weekend. But its ceiling is just a little north of $200 million. It should top Thor: The Dark World, but won't get to Captain America: The Winter Soldier.


Kids and their parents still loved their Trolls, too. Falling only 25 percent, which is astonishing, the animated musical has now taken in nearly $100 million. It will likely end up as the fourth-biggest animated movie of the year behind Finding Dory, The Secret Life of Pets and Zootopia.


Of the weekend's new releases, Arrival did the best, riding great reviews and marketing to a $24 million opening. With good word-of-mouth, it could become the sleeper hit of the fall. It will likely stick around as Almost Christmas fades. Holiday movies just aren't built to last anymore. But they'll still end up better than Hacksaw Ridge. It only fell a modest 29 percent, but won't earn the big bucks.


Outside the top 5:

  • This Weekend's Indie Champ: Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, playing on the only two screens capable of playing it as intended: in 120 frames per second 4K 3D, averaged a whopping $60,000 on each one. It will go wide in 2D next weekend.
  • Shut In, a psychological thriller starring Naomi Watts and the boy from Room, didn't catch on at all. The flick earned just $3.7 million.
  • Elle, the big comeback from provocateur Paul Verhoeven, also debuted strongly in limited release. It averaged $28,006 on just two screens.


Next week: You won't need to search anywhere. Fantastic Beasts will be absolutely everywhere. This will be the first Harry Potter-related film since Deathly Hallows, Part 2 wrapped up in 2011. But it doesn't matter, it's going to be huge. I think $95 million is a conservative estimate. Nothing else will come anywhere close.


About Kip Mooney

Kip Mooney
Like many film critics born during and after the 1980s, my hero is Roger Ebert. The man was already the best critic in the nation when he won the Pulitzer in 1975, but his indomitable spirit during and after his recent battle with cancer keeps me coming back to read not only his reviews but his insightful commentary on the everyday. But enough about a guy you know a lot about. I knew I was going to be a film critic—some would say a snob—in middle school, when I had to voraciously defend my position that The Royal Tenenbaums was only a million times better than Adam Sandler’s remake of Mr. Deeds. From then on, I would seek out Wes Anderson’s films and avoid Sandler’s like the plague. Still, I like to think of myself as a populist, and I’ll be just as likely to see the next superhero movie as the next Sundance sensation. The thing I most deplore in a movie is laziness. I’d much rather see movies with big ambitions try and fail than movies with no ambitions succeed at simply existing. I’m also a big advocate of fun-bad movies like The Room and most of Nicolas Cage’s work. In the past, I’ve written for The Dallas Morning News and the North Texas Daily, which I edited for a semester. I also contributed to Dallas-based Pegasus News, which in the circle of life, is now part of The Dallas Morning News, where I got my big break in 2007. Eventually, I’d love to write and talk about film full-time, but until that’s a viable career option, I work as an auditor for Wells Fargo. I hope to one day meet my hero, go to the Toronto International Film Festival, and compete on Jeopardy. Until then, I’m excited to share my love of film with you.

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