LOS ANGELES • Alien invasion thriller Arrival capitalised on strong reviews to score an impressive debut, while Disney's Doctor Strange topped the box office for the second consecutive weekend.
Doctor Strange took in an estimated US$43 million (S$60.9 million) for a two-week total of US$153 million and nearly US$500 million worldwide.
DreamWorks Animation's Trolls, another holdover, came in second, earning US$35 million to bring its two-week domestic total of US$94 million.
Paramount Pictures, showing signs of life after a dreary run, powered Denis Villeneuve's understated Arrival to third position with roughly US$24 million in ticket sales, a strong total that easily surpassed predictions.
Exceptional reviews about the science-fiction mystery starring Amy Adams helped turn out an older audience. The film was independently financed by Lava Bear and FilmNation for about US$47 million. Paramount paid US$20 million for domestic rights.
Finishing fourth, comedy drama Almost Christmas (Universal Pictures) arrived to a solid US$15.6 million in ticket sales, despite reviews leaning towards the negative.
Sony bowed Lee Ang's Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk to sold-out audiences on two screens, where it made US$120,300.
It was screened in the immersive format that Lee has pushed theatres to incorporate - at 4K, 3D and at 120 frames a second. It opens wide this weekend.