New top three re-energize fall’s sluggish box office

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New top three re-energize fall’s sluggish box office

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LOS ANGELES - A strong batch of new films drew audiences to the theaters in large numbers this weekend, including Marvel’s “Doctor Strange,” the animated “Trolls” and Mel Gibson’s WWII drama “Hacksaw Ridge,” effectively waking up the sleepy fall box office. The top three films all garnered largely positive reviews from critics and all recorded A CinemaScores from opening weekend audiences too.

As the Disney-distributed superhero in the bunch, “Doctor Strange” easily dominated with $85 million in North America theaters according to studio estimates Sunday. Starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the neurosurgeon turned sorcerer, “Doctor Strange” opened internationally last weekend. It’s already grossed $325.4 million globally.

Disney wasn’t the only one celebrating, though. DreamWorks Animation’s “Trolls,” a family-friendly musical featuring the voices of Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake, took second place with $45.6 million in North America, and $30 million internationally. In addition to being one of the first new family films to hit the market in a few weeks, the film also had the added benefit of an original hit song from Timberlake, “Can’t Stop the Feeling.”

And in third place, “Hacksaw Ridge,” Gibson’s film about the true story of the conscientious objector Desmond Doss’s (Andrew Garfield) heroics during the battle of Okinawa, earned $14.8 million. The independently financed film cost a reported $40 million to make.

“It’s a real return to form for Mel Gibson who has obviously had his ups and downs in his personal life, but it is a true meritocracy in this business,” noted Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for box office tracker comScore. “If you make a really great movie, people will judge you based on that movie.” AP

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