Can ‘Doctor Strange’ hold off newcomers?


Last weekend was a mighty good one for the box office, with Doctor Strange bowing to $85 million and new releases Trolls and Hacksaw Ridge both exceeding estimates. This weekend looks like it’ll be a good one too, even if none of the newcomers will probably be able to bump Strange out of the top spot. That’s the power of Disney, people.

Holdover Trolls is also likely to hold onto its number two spot due to a lack of general-audience competition. That leaves new release Arrival, a cerebral sci-fi drama from Sicario director Denis Villeneuve, in spot number three with a probable gross in the high teens-low twenties. There’s a potential upset in the cards from fellow new wide release Almost Christmas, but Arrival has awards buzz and positive reviews on its side, while Universal’s ensemble comedy has neither We’re looking at mid-teens and a number four finish, with holdover Hacksaw Ridge rounding out the top five.

Bringing up the rear as far as new wide releases is concerned will be Shut In, a long-delayed, low-budget horror thriller from EuropaCorp. There’s been little by way of marketing, and reviews are bad; this one should slink into theatres in the bottom half of the top ten with somewhere in the neighborhood of two million.

Limited releases include Ang Lee’s Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, a technically audacious war drama shot on an unprecedented 120fps. Unfortunately, reviews characterize the film largely as a misfire for Lee, with the ultra-high frame rate by and large failing to wow critics. It could still pull in decent numbers given it’s debuting on only two screens, but expect this one to have trouble expanding in the coming weeks. Also new to theatres are The Love Witch, The Monster and French Oscar submission Elle.