Box Office: ‘Arrival’ Lands Behind a Marvelously ‘Strange’ Repeat

"Arrival" (2016) - Box Office

‘Arrival,’ ‘Doctor Strange’ Rise on Holiday Weekend

Doctor Strange had a marvelous second weekend, even with the debut of sci-fi challenger, Arrival entering the fold. The latest Marvel film returned for a second round at the box office with an estimated $43 million.

There’s plenty of factors gaining Marvel’s 14th entry one of the best holdovers in the franchise. Veteran’s Day falling on a Friday helped, as did the positive word-of-mouth going around. After 10 days and $153 million so far, there’s no doubt Doctor Strange will pass $200 million. In fact, if you look at the numbers, every film passing $150 million in 16 days or less cracked $200 million. The question remains whether Marvel’s Sorcerer Supreme can go even higher. With Fantastic Beasts and Moana on deck, fierce competition is inevitable. And Doctor Strange will also lose its IMAX to Fantastic Beasts Thursday night. A finish between $225-240 million seems to be the most likely trajectory. Yes, we may actually have a film that finishes between $200-299 million in 2016.

DreamWorks Animation has an impressive system in the fall. And it hasn’t faltered with their latest film, Trolls. After an impressive $46.5 million start last weekend, Trolls dipped a mere 24.8% this frame. The Justin Timberlake, Anna Kendrick film scored another $35 million, bringing its total to $94 million. Thank Veteran’s Day falling on a Friday this year, resulting in plenty of crowded theaters. It held much better than previous November releases, Megamind (-36.7%) and Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (-44.5%). Disney’s Moana does open in two weeks. However, Trolls could still be dancing its way to a $150 million run.

Successful sci-fi films in fall seems to be the trend over the last few years. And Arrival is no exception. The Denis Villeneuve drama debuted with $24 million. While that falls incredibly short of Gravity ($55.8 million), The Martian ($54.3 million) and Interstellar ($47.5 million), it’s not quite the same type of film. Gravity and Interstellar banked on IMAX 3D engagements, while The Martian was a more accessible film. Arrival is more of a cerberal, slow burn like Villeneuve’s other films, Sicario and Prisoners. It’s also a career high for Villeneuve as well. If Arrival is a true Oscar contender, expect some solid legs in the future.

Behind two major hits and the critically-acclaimed Arrival, Almost Christmas was expected to go no higher than fourth place. The David E. Talbert film received mixed reviews, landing a $15.6 million start. Still, it’s a much better opening than his last film, Baggage Claim, which debuted at $9 million in 2013. For being a November holiday release, Almost Christmas opened with mediocre numbers. We weren’t expecting the next Elf or Home Alone 2. Rather, we ended up with something closer to Fred Claus ($18.5 million) and This Christmas ($18.0 million). Both films had decently leggy runs. If Almost Christmas follows suit, then a $50 million run is possible.

Rounding out the charts this weekend is World War II drama, Hacksaw Ridge. The Mel Gibson film dropped 29.1% with another $10.8 million. With $32 million in the bank after 10 days, Hacksaw Ridge should have no problem passing Gibson’s 2006 film, Apocalypto. The soft holiday drop still puts in question much more longevity it has after a $50 million run. As more Oscar hopefuls like Moonlight and Manchester by the Sea enter the playing field, can Hacksaw Ridge still hang?

Both new releases surpassed my Friday predictions.

Note: These #’s are based on Sunday’s projections and can change with Monday’s actual #’s.

#1 – Doctor Strange (1)
$43.0 million / $153.0 million total

#2 – Trolls (2)
$35.1 million / $94.0 million total

#3 – Arrival (NR)
$24.0 million / $24.0 million total

#4 – Almost Christmas (NR)
$15.6 million  / $15.6 million total

#5 – Hacksaw Ridge (3)
$10.8 million / $32.3 million total

Opening Next Week: Bleed for This, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, The Edge of Seventeen, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

Source: Box Office Mojo

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