'Strange' reigns but 'Downton' shows class on North American screens
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"Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" continued its domination in North American theatres this weekend, earning an estimated $31.6 million, while the latest "Downton Abbey" came in a stately second, industry watcher Exhibitor Relations said Sunday.
Marvel and Disney's "Strange," again starring the versatile Benedict Cumberbatch, has been a Covid-era star since its release three weekends ago. It has now earned $342 million domestically and $461 million abroad for a global total of $803 million.
"Downton Abbey: A New Era" from Focus Features took in a solid $16 million. Perhaps not surprising given the huge popularity of the British TV series that inspired it, but nonetheless a sign that older moviegoers -- the most reluctant to return to pandemic-era theatres -- are beginning to do so.
"This is a very good opening," said David A. Gross of Franchise Entertainment Research, who noted that nearly half of ticket buyers were aged 55 or older.
Writer/director Julian Fellowes, Gross said, "is the George Lucas of period English sitting-room drama."
Most of the original Downton cast -- led by Maggie Smith, Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern and Michelle Dockery -- appear in the sequel, which critics have called an "affectionate group hug."
In third place for the Friday-through-Sunday period was Universal's animated action-comedy "The Bad Guys." The DreamWorks Animation production, with a voice cast led by Sam Rockwell, Awkwafina and Anthony Ramos, took in $6.1 million.
Paramount's family-friendly "Sonic the Hedgehog 2" slipped one spot from last weekend to fourth, at $3.9 million.
In fifth was A24's new horror film "Men," at $3.3 million. Directed by Alex Garland, who made "Ex Machina," and starring Jessie Buckley, it drew a rare low D+ grade from the CinemaScore site.
Meanwhile a pro-Donald Trump film, "2000 Mules," earned $765,000 to claim the 11th spot.
The movie from conservative Dinesh D'Souza -- who in 2018 received a pardon from Trump for a felony conviction of making illegal campaign contributions -- falsely claims to offer "smoking gun" evidence of massive voter fraud in the 2020 election.
Rounding out the top 10 were:
"Everything Everywhere All at Once" ($3.1 million)
"Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore" ($1.9 million)
"Firestarter" ($1.9 million)
"The Lost City" ($1.5 million)
"The Northman" ($1 million)