It looks like the general public reacted to one of the most stressful weeks in living memory by flocking to the movies for a few hours of escape. Both Doctor Strange and Trolls, which debuted to solid numbers last week, held on strong. Arrival, the biggest newcomer of the bunch, also opened well, proving that it’s entirely possible to open in third place and still be a winner at the box office.

FilmWeekendPer Screen
1Doctor Strange$43,032,000 (-49.4)$11,085$153,014,000
2Trolls$35,600,000 (-24.8)$8,620$94,014,000
4Almost Christmas$15,564,000$6,551$15,564,000
5Hacksaw Ridge$10,775,000 (-29.1)$3,627$32,264,000
6The Accountant$4,570,000 (-22.2)$1,951$77,725,000
7Shut In$3,700,000$1,798$3,700,000
8Boo! A Madea Halloween$3,550,000 (-54.1)$1,687$70,408,000
9Jack Reacher: Never Go Back$3,325,000 (-39.0)$1,287$54,586,000
10Inferno$3,250,000 (-47.3)$1,224$31,582,000

Doctor Strange grossed $43 million in its second weekend, bringing its total domestic gross to $153 million. That’s a drop of 49%, which is small for any massive studio film and tiny for a superhero movie. In fact, it’s the second lowest second weekend drop for any Marvel Studios movie, which bodes well for the film’s legs in the coming weeks. At this rate, it should effortlessly outgross Ant-Man within a week or two and will probably end up doing Captain America: The Winter Soldier business  —  $250 million or so  —  when all is said and done. Not bad for a superhero the moviegoing public doesn’t know that well!

However, the more astonishing number belongs to Trolls in second place, which dropped a minuscule 24%, grossing $35 million for a current haul of $94 million. Family movies tend to open a little lower than teen and adult-skewing blockbusters, but they also tend to stick around longer, dropping far less from week-to-week. If these numbers are any indication, Trolls could stick around for a very long time.

In third place, the well-reviewed science fiction film Arrival opened with $24 million, a great start for a modestly budgeted, action-free genre movie. The second weekend will be telling  —  will audiences flee when they realize it’s a hopeful and intelligent drama and not a full-on alien invasion movie?  —  but with a reported budget of only $47 million, it should be profitable when all is said and done. With the right word of mouth, it may even transform into a sizable hit.

In fourth place, the seasonal comedy Almost Christmas opened with $15 million, a number that impresses when placed next to the film’s $17 million budget. Like Arrival  —  and like so many of the hits that have arrived in the past few months  —  this is a case of a modestly budgeted movie doing strong business without having to rely on a mammoth opening weekend. Studios: take note.

This lesson continued elsewhere with The Accountant, which hit $77 million and could get very close to $100 million when all is said and done, and Boo! A Madea Halloween, which just broke $70 million on a $20 million budget. Hacksaw Ridge, which had a solid but unremarkable start last week, dropped only 29% this week, suggesting that it could transform into another mid-tier sleeper hit.

In fact, the only real losers this week were Inferno (which will exit the top 10 with only $31 million) and Shut In, which opened to a paltry $3 million.

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