Movie­go­ers rush to ‘Doc­tor Strange,’ ‘Ar­rival’ post-elec­tion

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - BUSINESS - By Jake Coyle AP Film Writer

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 bet­terthan-ex­pected $24 mil­lion for Paramount Pic­tures. Open­ing in fourth was Uni­ver­sal Pic­tures’ “Al­most Christ­mas,” the first hol­i­day-themed 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 Vet­er­ans 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 “Ben-Hur” and “Teenage Mu­tant Ninja Tur­tles: Out of the Shad­ows” — with a rel­a­tively thin slate of re­leases.

Paramount paid $20 mil­lion for the film’s do­mes­tic dis­tri­bu­tion rights. The film, in which a lin­guist is tasked by the gov­ern­ment to com­mu­ni­cate with newly ar­rived aliens, has drawn good re­views from crit­ics.

Ang Lee’s Iraq War hero drama “Billy Lynn’s Long Half­time Walk” also made its much awaited de­buted, al­beit on just two screens. The Sony Pic­tures re­lease, which opens na­tion­wide next week, grossed $120,300 from two the­aters (one in New York, on in Los An­ge­les). The two lo­ca­tions are the only places in North Amer­ica the film is screen­ing in Lee’s in­no­va­tive 120 frames-per-sec­ond ver­sion (five times the nor­mal rate), in ad­di­tion to be­ing in 3-D and at 4k res­o­lu­tion.

Play­ing in more tra­di­tional for­mats, it got off to a good start in China, where “Billy Lynn” opened with $11.7 mil­lion.

THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

This im­age re­leased by Paramount Pic­tures shows a scene from “Ar­rival.”

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