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Arrival lands strong US debut as Doctor Strange and Trolls top robust weekend box office


Story by Jack Foley

DENIS Villeneuve’s critically-acclaimed sci-fi masterpiece Arrival has enjoyed a much better than expected US debut, raking in $24 million to land third spot.

Starring Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner, Arrival follows a linguistic expert who is recruited to communicate with aliens who have landed on Earth in mysterious pods.

Commenting on the film’s success was Megan Colligan, Paramount worldwide president of marketing and distribution, who pointed to the fact that audiences quite possibly turned out in their droves this weekend buoyed by the film’s good reviews, as well as seeking a sense of escapism from what has been a tough week for their country in the wake of the US elections.

She said: “Denis Villeneuve’s film is a potent reminder of what a great movie and great art can do — they can speak to our times and transcend them. This is a special film. The outpouring of love, for the film, Amy, Jeremy and the cast speaks to the power of the movie.”

Another new release that over-performed was African-American ensemble comedy Almost Christmas, which debuted with $15.7 million.

The movie finds Danny Glover playing the patriarch of a large family that comes together for the holidays and deals with complicated family dynamics. It also stars Kimberly Elise, Omar Epps, Mo’Nique, Gabrielle Union and Jessie Usher among its ensemble.

While both films did open ahead of tracking, they were still no match for the holdover titles, Marvel’s Doctor Strange, and animated family movie Trolls.

The former, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Tilda Swinton, easily stayed at No.1 in its sophomore outing, falling a mere 49% to $44 million.

That marks the lowest second-weekend decline among the last 10 Marvel Cinematic Universal titles, as well as the third-lowest among all MCU movies behind Iron Man and Thor.

Through Sunday, Doctor Strange‘s US total stands at $153 million while its global haul is $493 million after the film topped the weekend chart overseas with another $60.2 million.

Trolls, featuring the voices of Justin Timberlake and Anna Kendrick, placed an equally comfortable second with $35.1 million for a 10-day US haul of $94 million after declining just 25% – one of the lowest second-weekend drops for an animated film.

Overseas, the movie took in another $18.3 million for a foreign total of $128.3 million and global haul of $222.3 million.

Rounding out the US top five, meanwhile, was Mel Gibson’s World War II drama, Hacksaw Ridge, which took $10.8 million for a 10-day US total of $32.3 million.

Elsewhere at the speciality box office, there was some international success for Ang Lee’s Billy Lynn’s Halftime Walk, which opened in China to a whopping $11.7 million – enough to displace Doctor Strange from the No. 1 spot.

In the US, it opened in two cinemas in New York and Los Angeles, grossing $120,300. But that doesn’t represent anything to write home about ahead of its more nationwide release next weekend.

Next story: Robert Redford to retire from acting after two more movies