‘Doc­tor Strange’ spins magic at re-en­er­gized box of­fice

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - KICKOFF -

A strong batch of new films drew au­di­ences to the theaters in large num­bers this weekend, in­clud­ing Marvel’s “Doc­tor Strange,” the an­i­mated “Trolls” and Mel Gib­son’s WWII drama “Hack­saw Ridge,” ef­fec­tively wak­ing up the sleepy fall box of­fice. The top three films all gar­nered largely pos­i­tive re­views from crit­ics and all recorded A Cin­ema Scores from open­ing weekend au­di­ences too.

As the su­per­hero in the bunch, “Doc­tor Strange” eas­ily dom­i­nated with $85 mil­lion in North Amer­ica theaters ac­cord­ing to stu­dio es­ti­mates Sunday. Star­ring Bene­dict Cum­ber­batch as the neu­ro­sur­geon turned sorcerer, “Doc­tor Strange” opened in­ter­na­tion­ally last weekend. It’s al­ready grossed $325.4 mil­lion glob­ally.

It’s the four­teenth film in the Marvel Cin­e­matic Uni­verse and the four­teenth to open at No. 1. As one of the lesser­known prop­er­ties, it far sur­passed “Ant-Man’s” $57.2 mil­lion launch, but fell a lit­tle short of “Guardians of the Galaxy’s” $94.3 mil­lion de­but.

Much of the “Doc­tor Strange” business came from pre­mium large for­mat screens and 3D show­ings, which, ac­cord­ing to RealD, made up 47 per­cent of the do­mes­tic gross.

“Movie theaters ex­ist for a movie like ‘Doc­tor Strange,’” said Dave Hol­lis, the ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent of dis­tri­bu­tion for The Walt Dis­ney Com­pany.

For one, Hol­lis said, it’s just vis­ually dif­fer­ent.

“Yes, for a mar­ket­ing tagline the idea that it’s some­thing that you haven’t seen be­fore is a great way to sell some­thing, but hav­ing some­thing that ar­rests and to­tally dis­rupts what peo­ple are ex­pect­ing to see in­side of a movie the­ater is part of what will help jump start what has been a bit of a slower box of­fice lately which is good not only for us but for the en­tire mar­ket­place,” Hol­lis said.

The weekend also drove The Walt Dis­ney Studios to sur­pass the $6 bil­lion mark glob­ally — a first for the stu­dio and a sec­ond for the in­dus­try.

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