You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Box Office: ‘Doctor Strange’ to Ward Off Newcomers ‘Arrival’ and ‘Almost Christmas’

Marvel-Disney’s “Doctor Strange” will again dominate the post-election box office with at least $40 million, easily topping openings by Paramount’s sci-fi film “Arrival” and Universal’s comedy “Almost Christmas.”

The new titles are expected to battle for third place with as much as $15 million each while EuropaCorp’s Naomi Watts thriller “Shut In” is pegged for an opening of about $7 million. DreamWorks Animation’s second weekend of “Trolls” should come in second with about $20 million.

Doctor Strange” opened above expectations last weekend in the U.S. with $85 million, then added on $6.2 million on Monday and $7.7 million on Tuesday. The Benedict Cumberbatch vehicle has also performed impressively internationally with more than $240 million in two weeks.

Trolls,” handled by Fox, generated a solid opening weekend with $46.6 million domestically and tacked on $2.5 million on Monday. The cartoon comedy has gone past $100 million internationally after a mid-October launch.

Alien-arrival saga “Arrival,” directed by Denis Villenueve (“Sicario”) and starring Amy Adams as a linguistics expert, will be playing at approximately 2,200 locations. Paramount is forecasting a launch in the low-to-mid teens — comparable to last fall’s $15 million opening of Steven Spielberg’s “Bridge of Spies,” which wound up with $72 million by the end of its run.

Paramount acquired U.S., Canadian and Chinese distribution rights for “Arrival” at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. The film was financed by FilmNation Entertainment and Lava Bear Films, and carries a $47 million budget.

Critics have given “Arrival” strong reviews and its Rotten Tomato score is currently 98%.

Universal will release “Almost Christmas” in approximately 2,372 theaters in North America. David E. Talbert directs from his own script about a beloved patriarch who asks his family for a holiday season gift — to get along and spend five days under the same roof without killing one another.

The cast includes Kimberly Elise, Omar Epps, Danny Glover, Romany Malco, Mo’Nique, Nicole Ari Parker, J.B. Smoove, Gabrielle Union, Jessie Usher and DC Young Fly. “Almost Christmas” is tracking strongest with African American audiences, specifically among females, with the studio aiming for strong playability through the holiday season. The film was made for a budget of $17 million.

Will Packer, whose resume includes the “Think Like a Man” and “Ride Along” franchises, is producing. The studio’s marketing campaign has featured a special episode on “Family Feud” hosted by Steve Harvey and events at the American Black Film Festival and Essence Festival.

“Shut In” stars Naomi Watts as a psychologist trying to save a child — played by “Room” star Jacob Tremblay — during a New England snowstorm. It’s opening 2,050 locations.

Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with comScore, said that the weekend should see multiplexes generating solid business as customers look to put the election behind them. The lagging fall box office as of Monday had hit $1.33 billion, off 5% from the same period last year, according to comScore.

“In the post-election period, the allure of the movies becomes even more pronounced as the need for escapist, immersive entertainment will likely manifest itself in a movie theater version of post-trauma therapy,” he said.

“This weekend’s crop of movies led by the box office hit ‘Doctor Strange’ will benefit from audiences looking to find solace in movies as diverse as ‘Trolls’ and ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ as well as newcomers ‘Almost Christmas,’ ‘Arrival’ and ‘Shut In,’ which should power strong results in this first weekend after the election and benefit upcoming films this holiday season.”

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Fernando Meirelles The Two Popes

    Film News Roundup: 'The Two Popes' Wins Audience Award at Miami Festival

    In today’s film news roundup, “The Two Popes” wins an audience award, “A Night with Janis Joplin” and “Fittest in Dubai” get releases, Artists First reorganizes, SAG-AFTRA expands its headquarters and Film Fest 919 announces its winners. AUDIENCE AWARD Fernando Meirelles’ “The Two Popes” has won the audience award at the Miami Gems Film Festival. [...]

  • Scotty Bowers

    Scotty Bowers, Old Hollywood's Sexual Matchmaker, Dies at 96

    Scotty Bowers, a “sexual matchmaker” for dozens of stars during the Golden Age of Hollywood who wrote about his colorful — and sometimes unbelivable — life in his memoir “Full Service: My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars,” died at his Laurel Canyon home on Sunday. He was 96. The [...]

  • AMC theater

    AMC Entertainment Introducing On-Demand Movie Service

    AMC Entertainment will introduce an online video store in the United States on Tuesday. Adam Aron, AMC’s president and chief executive, said that the AMC Theaters On Demand will offer about 2,000 films for sale or rent after their theatrical runs — much like Amazon or iTunes. Disney, Warner Bros., Universal, Sony and Paramount have [...]

  • Scarlett Johansson poses for photographers upon

    Scarlett Johansson 'Pushing' for All-Women Marvel Movie

    After the epic battle scene in “Avengers: Endgame” depicted the female superheroes uniting to protect Spider-Man from Thanos, Marvel fans started wondering if they’ll ever see the women unite for a standalone movie. “Captain Marvel” star Brie Larson generated even more buzz when she told Variety that she and other female co-stars have approached Marvel [...]

  • Ivana Lombardi Netflix

    Annapurna Film Head Ivana Lombardi Named Director of Indies at Netflix (EXCLUSIVE)

    Annapurna Pictures president of film Ivana Lombardi is moving across town to Netflix, after almost a year in her role at Megan Ellison’s company. As of Nov. 6, Lombardi will serve as director of independent films at the streamer. She will report directly to Lisa Nishimura, Netflix’s vice president of independent film and documentary features. [...]

  • Zoe Kravitz 'Big Little Lies' TV

    Zoe Kravitz to Play Catwoman in 'The Batman'

    “Big Little Lies” star Zoe Kravitz has been tapped to play Catwoman, the antiheroine and sometime love interest of the Caped Crusader, in Matt Reeves’ upcoming “The Batman.” Kravitz will star opposite Robert Pattinson as Batman. In recent weeks, the role came down to Kravitz, Zazie Beetz of “Atlanta,” “Deadpool 2” and “Joker,” “Baby Driver’s” [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content