Sun | Jul 22, 2018

Cinemas get post-election boost

Published:Tuesday | November 15, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Tyler Perry (left) portrays Madea in ‘Boo! A Madea Halloween’.
Poppy (left) and Branch embark on an adventure beyond the only world they’ve known in ‘Trolls’.
Tom Cruise in ‘Jack Reacher: Never Go Back’.
Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) must stop a deadly global plot in ‘Inferno’.


Moviegoers, drained by the drama of the presidential election, sought refuge at the movies over the weekend, where ticket sales were robust for just about everything.

Marvel's Doctor Strange led the North American box office for the second week with US$43 million, according to studio estimates on Sunday. That was an especially strong hold for the Benedict Cumberbatch-led superhero blockbuster, which is now nearing US$500 million globally. Trolls, the musical animated release from 20th Century Fox with Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake, also held well in its second week with US$35.1 million, bringing its cumulative domestic total to US$94 million.

Denis Villeneuve's science-fiction thriller Arrival, starring Amy Adams, scored the weekend's top debut with a better-than-expected US$24 million for Paramount Pictures. Opening in fourth was Universal Pictures' Almost Christmas, the first holiday-themed release to hit cinemas. The family-gathering comedy, starring Danny Glover and Gabrielle Union, debuted with US$15.6 million.

The weekend box office was up about 47 per cent from last year, according to comScore. The Friday holiday of Veteran's Day also helped stoke business.

The good showing for Arrival, which cost US$47 million to produce, was a welcome relief for Paramount. The studio has endured a string of disappointments - including Ben-Hur and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows - with a relatively thin slate of releases.

Ang Lee's Iraq War hero drama Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk also made its much awaited debuted, albeit on just two screens. The Sony Pictures release, which opens nationwide next week, grossed US$120,300 from two cinemas (one in New York, on in Los Angeles). The two locations are the only places in North America the film is screening in Lee's innovative 120 frames-per-second version (five times the normal rate), in addition to being in 3-D and at 4k resolution.

Playing in more traditional formats, it got off to a good start in China, where Billy Lynn opened with US$11.7 million.

Following are the estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at US and Canadian cinemas, according to comScore.

1. Doctor Strange, US$43m (US$60.2m international)

2. Trolls, US$35.1m (US$18.3m international)

3. Arrival, US$24m (US$10m international)

4. Almost Christmas, US$15.6m

5. Hacksaw Ridge, US$10.8m (US$3.7m international)

6. The Accountant, US$4.6m (US$7.6m international)

7. Shut In, US$3.7m

8. Boo! A Madea Halloween, US$3.6m

9. Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, US$3.3m (US$8.6m international)

10. Inferno, US$3.3m (US$8.6m international)