'Doctor Strange' to Repeat at #1 as 'Arrival', 'Almost Christmas' & 'Shut In' Hit Theaters
SATURDAY AM UPDATE: Doctor Strange is going to secure a second weekend at #1 after an estimated $14.9 million on Friday, heading toward a second weekend right around $40 million. Additionally, Fox's Trolls will finish second as expected after an estimated $12.2 million on Friday, heading toward a three-day right around $34 million.

As for the weekend's newcomers, Arrival is playing well, bringing in an estimated $9.35 million on Friday, heading toward an opening right around $21-24 million.

Universal's Almost Christmas brought in an estimated $5.9 million, heading toward a three-day around $15-16 million.

EuropaCorp's Shut In brought in an estimated $1.425 million on Friday and is expected to finish around $3.7 million for the three-day.

Finally, it should also be mentioned that Lionsgate's Hacksaw Ridge is holding on very well, delivering an estimated $3.8 million on Friday, heading toward a second weekend around $11 million, only a 27% drop from last weekend.

You can check out all the Friday estimates right here and we'll be back tomorrow morning with a complete weekend wrap-up.

FRIDAY AM UPDATE: Paramount's Arrival delivered $1.45 million from Thursday night previews in 1,944 theaters which began at 7 PM. This is a great start for the film as comparisons in this range include the likes of Ender's Game, which brought in $1.4 million in previews and opened with $27 million as well as Paramount's Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, which brought in $1.4 million on Thursday night and opened with $22.8 million.

Universal's Almost Christmas brought in $507,000 from 1,885 theaters with previews beginning at 7 PM. There aren't many direct comparisons to be made, so, without getting too specific, a selection of films in this preview range tend to open anywhere from $10-17 million with an average around $13.5 million.

EuropaCorp's Shut In did not hold Thursday night previews.

We'll be back tomorrow with Friday estimates, you can read the full weekend preview directly below.

WEEKEND PREVIEW: Last weekend saw the top twelve outperform the previous year by a whopping +134.6%, a dramatic improvement after a sluggish October and Fall movie season. Fortunately, this weekend is looking like it too will show an improvement over the same weekend last year with a pair of holdovers leading the charge as Doctor Strange and Fox's Trolls are looking at another one-two finish. Among the week's new releases, Paramount's Arrival is looking at an opening that could even surpass the most optimistic predictions followed by Universal's holiday comedy Almost Christmas and EuropaCorp's thriller Shut In. Meanwhile, Sony will debut Ang Lee's Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk in just two theaters before going nationwide this weekend and A24 is expanding Moonlight into 176 theaters (+93) as it continues its impressive run in limited release.

After an $85 million opening last weekend, Disney and Marvel's Doctor Strange should be looking at a second weekend drop right around 53% or so. For comparison, 2013's Thor: The Dark World opened just over $85 million and dipped 57.3% in its second weekend. Fellow Marvel single-character introductions such as Ant-Man dipped 56.5%, Thor dropped 47.2% in summer 2011 and Captain America: The First Avenger dropped 60.7% in June 2011.

One factor that could work into Doctor Strange's favor this weekend, as well as for many films on the board this weekend, is what appears to be a sizable chunk of the weekly box office that was affected by the 2016 Election, most prominently on Monday. Simply put, Thor: The Dark World dropped 52% from Sunday to Monday while Doctor Strange dropped 71%, the second largest Sunday-to-first-Monday drop for a Marvel single-character intro. While Strange bounced back on Tuesday and Dark World continued to slide there's reason to expect that drop could mean the difference between Strange pulling in a second weekend just over $40 million rather than just below.

SEE MORE: Compare all the Marvel Cinematic Universe Single-Character Intros!

After opening with $46.5 million last weekend, Trolls compares favorably to the early November animated openings of Wreck-It Ralph ($49m opening) and The Peanuts Movie ($44.2m opening), which dropped 32.7% and 45.7% respectively over the course of their second weekends. Additionally, all three received an "A" CinemaScore from opening day audiences, though one notable difference is to look at each film's IMDb user rating. Following their opening weekends Wreck-It Ralph was at an 8.4/10, Peanuts was at an 8.1 and Trolls has settled in at 6.7, which is where a comparison to The Croods ($43.6m opening, 7.5/10 IMDb rating) might be a bit better. Croods ended up dropping 38.8% in its second weekend, which seems in just about the right range if not something a little closer to 42% and a $27 million sophomore session for Trolls.

Third place is where we find the first of the weekend's new wide releases in Paramount's Arrival. The sci-fi feature from Denis Villeneuve (Sicario) will debut in 2,317 theaters after premiering to rave reviews at the Venice, Telluride and Toronto film festivals. In fact, it has since played at Fantastic Fest, as well as the San Sebastian, Rio de Janeiro, Busan, London, Vienna, Chicago, Philadelphia and Tokyo film festivals and currently holds a 96% rating on RottenTomatoes and a score of 80 on Metacritic.

Industry expectations earlier in the week forecasted the film would open in the low-to-mid teens, but that is beginning to look low at this point. After we've building a set of competitive titles to compare against an opening in the mid-twenties is seeming more and more likely.

An examination of pre-release IMDb page view data against titles such as Elysium ($29.8m opening) and Edge of Tomorrow ($28.7m opening) show the film carrying a similar pace at the same point in the release cycle. Additionally, online ticket seller Fandango.com says the film is currently outselling Edge of Tomorrow at the same point in the Fandango sales cycle. While Cruise and Blunt may carry a bit more box office weight than Arrival's Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner, those figures can't be ignored, which is why we're expecting an opening around $25 million this weekend.

The next new wide release on the board is proving a bit difficult to forecast. Directed by David E. Talbert (Baggage Claim), the ensemble holiday comedy Almost Christmas is looking like a film that could open anywhere from $9-15 million. Industry expectations are in the low-to-mid teens, which would seem reasonable given the timing and cast, but to look at page view data on IMDb, this one has even fallen behind Baggage Claim, which opened with $9 million and isn't close to performing similar to the likes of A Madea Christmas ($16m opening), The Wedding Ringer ($20.6m opening) or The Best Man Holiday ($30m opening). That, however, isn't the end of the story.

Almost Christmas producer Will Packer doesn't tend to produce films that underperform at the box office. He's even been involved in an ensemble holiday comedy in the past, producing 2007's This Christmas, which opened with $17.9 million before going on to make just shy of $50 million on a $13 million budget. Almost Christmas is carrying a reported budget around $17 million, and no matter how it opens this weekend it should be able to holdover well over the coming weeks. All told, we just can't go below a $10 million opening and are sticking in the $12 million area for this one's opening, more than enough to secure a fourth place finish.

Rounding out the top five is Mel Gibson's Hacksaw Ridge, which opened with $15.19 million last weekend and should manage a drop around 38% for a $9.5 million second weekend.

From there we have a batch of films that should make anywhere from $2.5-4 million and among that lot is the last of the weekend's new wide releases, EuropaCorp's thriller Shut In starring Naomi Watts. Much like Relativity's The Disappointments Room, little was known of this one before the studio began a late marketing push. As a result, it isn't pacing well as IMDb data merely shows a big spike following the late August debut of the film's trailer, after which it wasn't even able to keep pace with Disappointments Room until only recently. The fact it is in more theaters than Disappointments Room means it most likely won't be quite the box office disaster that one was, but an opening around $2.5-3 million seems incredibly likely.

New limited release titles include the aforementioned Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk in two theaters along with French foreign language Oscar submission Elle from Sony Classics; The Love Witch from Oscilloscope; and Seasons from Music Box Films.

Overall, it looks as if the weekend top twelve should generate anywhere from $130-135 million combined, a ~28% increase over the same weekend last year, in which the top twelve was unable to top a combined $100 million.

This weekend's forecast is directly below. This post will be updated on Friday morning with Thursday night preview results followed by Friday estimates on Saturday morning, and a complete weekend recap on Sunday morning.

  • Doctor Strange (3,882 theaters) - $40 M
  • Trolls (4,066 theaters) - $27 M
  • Arrival (2,317 theaters) - $25 M
  • Almost Christmas (2,376 theaters) - $12 M
  • Hacksaw Ridge (2,971 theaters) - $9.5 M
  • Boo! A Madea Halloween (2,104 theaters) - $3.9 M
  • The Accountant (2,411 theaters) - $3.8 M
  • Inferno (2,656 theaters) - $3.1 M
  • Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (2,584 theaters) - $3.1 M
  • Shut In (2,058 theaters) - $2.8 M

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