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‘Arrival’ beats expectations while ‘Doctor Strange’ remains on top at the box office

ARRIVAL
Amy Adams in a scene from “Arrival.” The Paramount Pictures thriller beat expectations during its opening weekend at the box office.
(Jan Thijs / Paramount Pictures)

Paramount’s sci-fi thriller “Arrival” landed in the No. 3 spot on the weekend box-office chart and beat expectations, while Marvel Studio’s “Doctor Strange” held on to the top spot for the second weekend in a row.

20th Century Fox’s animated “Trolls” stayed put at No. 2.

“Arrival” brought in an estimated $9.4 million on Friday, which far exceeded pre-release estimates that the film, which stars Amy Adams, would earn only around $16 million for the weekend. The performance is a welcome relief for Paramount, which has been plagued with several lackluster showings, including “Star Trek Beyond” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows.”

“Doctor Strange,” which is distributed by Disney, grossed nearly $15 million Friday for a domestic total of nearly $125 million. The film starring Benedict Cumberbatch in the title role of the powerful sorcerer has benefited from positive word of mouth, including an A CinemaScore from audiences and a 90% fresh rating from Rotten Tomatoes.

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Kids and their parents continued to flock to DreamWorks Animation’s “Trolls,” which stars Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake as creatures of opposite nature united in a quest to save their best pals. The film grossed $12.2 million Friday, giving it a domestic total just shy of $71.2 million.

“Arrival” is now projected to earn between $21 million and $24 million during its opening weekend, according to Box Office Mojo. The film, directed by Denis Villeneuve, stars Adams as a U.S. military linguist picked to communicate with aliens. The thoughtful sci-fi drama has been racking up favorable reviews, including a 94% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a B CinemaScore.

Two other new releases, Universal’s “Almost Christmas” and EuropaCorp’s “Shut In,” finished at No. 4 and No. 7, respectively, with the former grossing $5.9 million Friday and the latter $1.4 million.

It appears the feel-good holiday film starring Danny Glover was more attractive to audiences than a dark thriller on the weekend after a tough presidential election.

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jessica.gelt@latimes.com

@jessicagelt

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