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