Moviegoers rush to ‘Doctor Strange,’ ‘Arrival’ post-election
NEW YORK » Moviegoers drained by the drama of the presidential election sought refuge at the movies over the weekend, where ticket sales were robust for just about everything.
Marvel’s “Doctor Strange” led the North American box office for the second week with $43 million, according to studio estimates Sunday. That was an especially strong hold for the Benedict Cumberbatch-led superhero blockbuster, which is now nearing $500 million globally. “Trolls,” the musical animated release from 20th Century Fox with Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake, also held well in its second week with $35.1 million, bringing its cumulative domestic total to $94 million.
Denis Villeneuve’s science-fiction thriller “Arrival,” starring Amy Adams, scored the weekend’s top debut with a better-than-expected $24 million for Paramount Pictures. Opening in fourth was Universal Pictures’ “Almost Christmas,” the first holidaythemed release to hit theaters. The family gathering comedy, starring Danny Glover and Gabrielle Union, debuted with $15.6 million.
The weekend box office was up about 47 percent from last year, according to comScore. The Friday holiday of Veteran’s Day also helped stoke business. Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for comScore, said the wide variety of releases gave moviegoers plenty of choice for escapism over the postelection weekend.
“In the first weekend after the election, I think it’s clear that people find being able to go to the movie theater is the perfect antidote to the election coverage,” said Dergarabedian. “There’s almost nowhere else that you can unplug the way you can when you go to the movie theater.”
The good showing for “Arrival,” which cost $47 million to produce, was a welcome relief for Paramount. The studio has endured a string of disappointments — including “BenHur” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: