Weekend Box Office: 'Doctor Strange' Makes Magic Friday for $70M-$75M Weekend
Animated film 'Trolls' is likewise off to a strong start, while Mel Gibson's World War II drama 'Hacksaw Ridge' also opens nationwide.
In yet another victory for Marvel Studios and Disney, Doctor Strange is doing magical business at the Friday box office, according to early returns, for a projected $70 million-$75 million North American debut, which would be one of the top 10 openings of the year to date.
Doctor Strange, playing in 3,882 theaters, is projected to gross $29 million on Friday, including a hefty $9.4 million from Thursday-night previews. At this pace, the movie will mark the biggest opening outside of Iron Man and Guardians of the Galaxy for an original Marvel Cinematic Universe title, beating the first Thor, Captain America and Ant-Man.
The superhero film stars Benedict Cumberbatch as a star surgeon who, after both of his hands are injured in a car accident, seeks out the help of the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton), who teaches him to use the mystical arts. It also stars Chiwetel Ejiofor and Rachel McAdams.
Doctor Strange has already earned $132.9 million from select international markets since debuting overseas last weekend. It's also opening in China today (Nov. 4) as it continues to do big business across the globe.
DreamWorks Animation and Fox's Trolls is likewise helping away to chase away the blues at the North American box office after a bleak September and October. The animated film is projected to earn $11.5 million Friday from 4,060 runs for $40 million-plus weekend. Friday's take will include $900,000 in previews.
Justin Timberlake and Anna Kendrick star in the animated musical, with Timberlake serving as an executive producer of the soundtrack, which includes his original hit song "Can't Stop the Feeling." Trolls, based on the classic children's doll, centers on two trolls who must save their village from destruction by the Bergens, who love to eat the little creatures.
The weekend's third new nationwide offering is director Mel Gibson's World War II drama Hacksaw Ridge, starring Andrew Garfield as a U.S. Army medic who became the first conscientious objector to win the medal of honor for his bravery, despite refusing to take up arms because of his religious beliefs.
Hacksaw Ridge is projected to open anywhere between $12 million-$15 million from 2,886 theaters in a solid start for Lionsgate and Gibson, considering the movie is a tough, R-rated war film. Hacksaw Ridge grossed $750,000 in Thursday-night previews, a sturdy start for an adult drama.
The $40 million was financed independently before Lionsgate picked up U.S. rights.
Nov. 4, 12:15 p.m. Updated with revised weekend projections.