“Doctor Strange” Conjures Impressive Opening


November 4-6, 2016

(estimates from BoxOfficeMojo.com)



Doctor Strange $84.9 million
Trolls $45.6 million
Hacksaw Ridge  $14.7 million
Boo! A Madea Halloween  $7.8 million
Inferno $6.2 million


Doctor Strange bent space and time to deliver an impressive $85 million debut. That's the best character intro in the Marvel Cinematic Universe since Iron Man kicked everything off eight years ago. November has been big for franchise sequels, though this is the best character debut of any franchise in this month since Harry Potter started back in 2001. It's also more proof that no matter what character Marvel trots out, audiences will turn out in droves.

Even though no one has bought a troll doll in decades, kids and their parents turned out for Trolls, which got surprisingly good reviews. The animated musical debuted right around where The Peanuts Movie did last year. So expect a final return of more than $125 million, with it petering out around Thanksgiving. But you'll probably have Justin Timberlake's "Can't Stop the Feeling" stuck in your head for much longer.

Way back in third place, Hacksaw Ridge took in around $14.7 million. That's not huge for a big, expensive war movie, but pretty good considering the competition. That's also a little below what Apocalypto debuted with a decade ago, though I'd be shocked if this one even comes close to $50 million. Boo! and Inferno rounded out the top five.


Outside the top 5:

  • This Weekend's Indie Champ: Loving, the drama about the fierce, determined couple whose romance led to the Supreme Court decision that made interracial marriage legal throughout the U.S. Playing on only four screens, the acclaimed drama averaged $42,250 on each one.
  • Moonlight continued its tremendous run. Expanding to 83 screens, the fantastic coming-of-age drama made $1.3 million in its third week, which is more than Keeping Up with the Joneses did. That film's playing on nearly a thousand more screens and has been out the same amount of time.
  • And even documentaries are debuting impressively. The Eagle Huntress, about nomadic tribes in Kazakhstan averaged $13,462 on four screens.


Next week: Arrival takes on Almost Christmas, with Shut In making a play as well. Arrival has the acclaim – including rave reviews at film festivals around the world – and the intrigue – a trailer that's given just enough information without giving away its twists. I'd say it could debut as high as $40 million, but that won't be enough to dethrone Doctor Strange. Almost Christmas could get $15 million, but Shut In will need a lot of luck to get more than $10 million.



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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