Marvel swings, and Marvel scores. This weekend brings another big win for the superhero studio with the debut of Doctor Strange, which opened in 3,882 theaters well above projections with an $85 million debut. Scott Derrickson‘s origin story introduced Benedict Cumberbatch‘s Stephen Strange to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, along with time travel and the realms of interdimensional magic with the tale of an arrogant neurosurgeon (Cumberbatch) who turns to The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) and the realm of the mystical after his hands are shattered in car crash.
The opening numbers are especially impressive for a debut solo film in the MCU, topping Thor( $65.7 million), Captain America: The First Avenger ($65.1), and Ant-Man ($57.2 million), and falling just shy of Marvel’s previous November opener, Thor: The Dark World ($85.7 million). Overseas, Doctor Strange earned another $118.7 million this weekend (it started rolling out in foreign markets more than a week ago), bringing the international gross to $240.4 million and the global total to $325.4 million.
Doctor Strange is just the latest in a series of big wins for Disney this year. Marvel’s parent studio, which also houses Lucasfilm and Pixar, has already shattered their annual box office record in 2016. And the Mouse House still has two big releases to come before the year is over with Rogue One and Moana, and considering Doctor Strange was met with both critical praise and an A CinemaScore (a theme for all this weekend’s new releases), it’s positioned to continue to perform well in the coming weeks.
But Doctor Strange wasn’t the only big debut this weekend. DreamWorks Animation’s comedy Trolls turned the beloved little pot-bellied, neon-tufted children’s toys into box office gold with $45.6 million from 4,060 theaters for the #2 spot. Justin Timberlake and Anna Kendrick star in the feel-good animated musical, for which Timberlake executive produced the soundtrack including his joyful, way-too-catchy hit “Can’t Stop the Feeling”.
Taking the third spot is the week’s final debut, Mel Gibson’s critically acclaimed World War II drama, Hacksaw Ridge, which earned $14.8 million from 2,886 theaters. The R-rated Lionsgate war drama stars Andrew Garfield as the U.S. army medic who refused to take up arms over religious beliefs and went on to become the first conscientious objector to win the medal of honor for his bravery. It’s an impressive start for a mature, gritty war movie — Gibson’s first directorial effort since 2006’s Apocalypto.
Boo! A Medea Halloween and Inferno round out the top five, taking the #4 and #5 spots respectively, with $7.8 and $6.3 million.
Focus Features also debuted Jeff Nichols‘ drama Loving in extremely limited release, hitting in four theaters in Los Angeles and New York, earning an impressive $169,000 for the highest per-theater average of the weekend. Loving stars Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton in the true-life story of the couple who battled in court to end state bans on interracial marriage and is positioned to become a major awards contender.
Moonlight, another critically-acclaimed contender, continued to impress this week as it expanded in more theaters, earning another $1.3 million in 83 theaters. A24’s widely-praised drama about a young black man discovering his sexuality landed in the #11 spot with a $16,053 per-theater average.