November 4, 2016

EARLY FRIDAY BOX OFFICE: Marvel On Top Again With “Dr Strange,” “Trolls” Solid


Franchises have been dropping like flies this year, but one brand name that still works is Marvel.  Its latest extravaganza DOCTOR STRANGE (Marvel/Disney) had an opening day of at least $32M according to preliminary numbers at Deadline (including $9.4M from Thursday night), which should give it a $80M+ weekend.  As the kick-off to a new Marvel Universe sub-franchise, Friday was considerably better than the $21.9M for the first Captain America, $25.5M for Thor, and $22.6M for Ant-Man, and it’s running even with the second Thor, also a November opening with $31.9M on its first day (and a $85.7M weekend).  Strange should be helped by the fact that its dazzling visuals call out to be seen on a big screen, although it may be limited by the arrival of Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them in 2 weeks.  (Thor: The Dark World was similarly sliced by a Hunger Games title on its 3rd weekend.)  Even so, it should top $200M in the US and reach $500-600M worldwide, a strong profit on $300M in production/marketing costs.

TROLLS (DreamWorks Animation/20th) had a $12.2M Friday ($900K of it from Thursday night), very similar to the $12.1M for last November’s The Peanuts Movie, which reached $44.2M for the weekend and a $130.2M US total.  That should be the Trolls ballpark as well, until it’s swallowed up by the Harry Potter spin-off, and Trolls should have more overseas appeal than Peanuts, which only made 47% of its worldwide total outside the US.

HACKSAW RIDGE (Summit/Lionsgate) is more of a longterm play, which will hope for awards consideration and an older, more red-state audience that will show up over time.  Its opening day was a modest $5.1M ($750K from Thursday night), and it’s aiming at a $15M weekend.  Hacksaw has at least $100M in production/marketing costs, and may not sell easily overseas, so it will need to play strongly through the coming weeks.

Holdovers were led by BOO! A MADEA HALLOWEEN (Lionsgate), which predictably sank with its titular holiday over, down 54% from last Friday to $2.1M, with a $7M weekend ahead, very profitable at $75-80M in the US.

INFERNO (LStar/Columbia/Sony) collapsed against the new competition, down 65% from last Friday to $1.9M, and hoping for a $7M weekend.  It’s unlikely to get much past $40M in the US, and will need every penny of its overseas run (so far at $132.7M) to get past red ink.

The trio of older adult-oriented thrillers was topped by THE ACCOUNTANT (20th), down 31% from last Friday to $1.7M for a $6M weekend and $80M in the US.  JACK REACHER: NEVER GO BACK (Skydance/Huahua/Shanghai/Paramount) fell 46% Friday-to-Friday to $1.6M for a $5M weekend and likely $60M US total.  THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN (DreamWorks/Participant/Reliance/Universal), the oldest of the group, dropped 42% to $800K from last Friday for a $2.5M weekend and $75M US total.

MOONLIGHT (A24) expanded to 83 theatres for what should be a $12K per-theatre average for the weekend.  That’s more than double the $5500 average Room had at 87 theatres, and better than the $7000 for The Danish Girl at 81, although it’s below the level of Spotlight ($22K at 61) or Boyhood ($16K at 107).  As more Oscar hopefuls hit theatres, A24 will be challenged to keep Moonlight building beyond arthouses.

Thinking of which, LOVING (Focus/Universal) is off to a moderate start at 4 NY/LA theatres with what should be a $45K weekend average.  Best Documentary hopeful THE EAGLE HUNTRESS (Sony Classics) is soft with a probable $6K average for the weekend at 3.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."