After a dreary stretch of weeks, the box office has bounced back to life with three new high-performing film debuts. Marvel’s latest superhero spectacle, Doctor Strange, has finally landed on US shores (and my what a spectacle it is), and it’s on track for, dare I say, a supremely good weekend, well above early expectations. Scott Derrickson‘s Sorcerer Supreme origin story picked up $32.6 million on Friday at 3,882 locations, including a sizable Thursday night preview haul of $9.4 million. Benedict Cumberbatch‘s Marvel Cinematic Universe debut is casting a spell over audiences to the tune of a $81-83 million opening weekend, soaring beyond early projections that had the film on track for $55-75 million.
It’s yet another victory for Marvel, on track to be one of the top 10 openings of the year, and it adds even more box office gains to the staggering heap Disney has already amassed in 2016, which is already their highest-grossing year in history. It’s an especially impressive sum for a Marvel solo film debut, coming in above Thor ($65.7 million), Captain America: The First Avenger ($65.1), and Ant-Man ($57.2 million), falling behind only Iron Man ($98.6 million) and Guardians of the Galaxy ($94.3 million). Indeed, Doctor Strange is pulling something closer to sequel money and will likely find a spot in the MCU box office ranks right alongside Marvel’s previous November opener, Thor: The Dark World ($85.7 million). Check out a full breakdown of Marvel’s box office record here.
While Strange may be having a spectacular weekend, it’ can’t stop the feeling of Trolls‘ good vibes. The animated comedy starring Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake is looking at an estimated $12 million opening day from 4,060 theaters, including $900,000 in Thursday previews. The latest animated offering from DreamWorks is on track for a $40-plus million opening, and with an A CinemaScore and certified fresh rating from critics, the feel-good comedy is poised to have legs.
Landing the #3 spot is the week’s third major new release, Mel Gibson‘s World War II drama Hacksaw Ridge, which stars Andrew Garfield aas 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. Lionsgate’s R-rated war drama is on track to open with a $14-15 million weekend total from 2,866 theaters after a strong $5.2 million Friday start. Hacksaw Ridge has received swaths of critical praise and earned an A CinemaScore, which it means it might have some staying power as we hit the thick of Awards-contender season in the coming weeks.
Look for a full rundown of the weekend box office tomorrow. For now, peruse Friday’s Top 5 below.