Americans welcomed Mel Gibson back to the big screen as his comedy “Daddy’s Home 2” scored a solid opening at the box office. Along with a new version of “Murder on the Orient Express,” it contributed to a robust weekend for Hollywood.
“Thor: Ragnarok,” from Walt Disney Co.’s DIS, -1.50% Marvel Studios, was No. 1 at the box office in the U.S. and Canada, with an estimated $56.6 million in the U.S. and Canada. After playing for two weeks domestically and three overseas, the third film featuring Chris Hemsworth as the comic book god of thunder has grossed $650.1 million world-wide, making it another major hit for Marvel.
“Daddy’s Home 2,” from Viacom Inc.’s VIA, -0.66% Paramount Pictures, and “Murder” from 21st Century Fox Inc.’s FOX, -1.83% Twentieth Century Fox, both performed better than studios had been expecting based on prerelease surveys, debuting to $30 million and $28.2 million, respectively.
The first “Daddy’s Home” opened to $38 million in 2015, but that was over the Christmas holiday weekend. The new film is well positioned to draw family audiences through Thanksgiving weekend. It is a much-needed hit for Paramount, which is currently ranked last among Hollywood’s major studios in box office for the sixth straight year and has suffered from a series of recent disappointments including “Suburbicon” and “Transformers: The Last Knight.”
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The healthy start for the film indicates many Americans are willing to embrace Mel Gibson as the star of a family comedy, albeit playing a cantankerous grandfather. “Daddy’s Home 2” marks Gibson’s first starring role in a studio-financed film in 15 years, after he was virtually exiled for anti-Semitic, racist and misogynistic remarks.
An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.
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