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It’s official: the fall film season is here! And this weekend’s hit, Doctor Strange, is blazing the trail for what’s sure to be an amazing four months. This week’s list is loaded with highly-acclaimed films and we know that there are more to come. So, let’s get started.download-4#1: DOCTOR STRANGE

Synopsis: Dr. Stephen Strange’s (Benedict Cumberbatch) life changes after a car accident robs him of the use of his hands. When traditional medicine fails him, he looks for healing, and hope, in a mysterious enclave. He quickly learns that the enclave is at the front line of a battle against unseen dark forces bent on destroying reality. Before long, Strange is forced to choose between his life of fortune and status or leave it all behind to defend the world as the most powerful sorcerer in existence.

This weekend, Doctor Strange obliterated the competition! And we all saw it coming. Domestically, the film earned approximately $85 million in its opening weekend, making it “the 14th consecutive Marvel movie to open in the top spot at the box office”(Forbes). Of the 43 Marvel films that have opened in the past three decades, Doctor Strange has had the 19th most successful opening weekend, in the States. The film actually opened internationally last weekend with a total foreign gross to date, of $240.4 million. Worldwide, the film has earned approximately $325.4 million on a $165 million production budget. Among MoviePass members, the film accounts for 30.54% of this weekend’s check-ins.

There are a myriad of factors that explain this film’s success, the most prominent being its placement in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With a slew of superheroes under its belt—Iron Man, Thor, Captain America—the Marvel franchise is the largest of all time and one of the most financially successful. So, any film added to the series is sure to attract comic book lovers and film enthusiasts. And when you add an all-star cast—Benedict Cumberbatch, Tilda Swinton, Rachel McAdams, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Mads Mikkelsen—to the mix, you get a critical successful. With a 90% score on Rotten Tomatoes, the film is lauded by critics, including Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers who states, “director Scott Derrickson – the horror guy from Deliver Us from Evil, Sinister and The Exorcism of Emily Rose – has kicked up a notch with a visual dazzle and wit unseen around these parts since The Matrix and Inception.” We’re excited to track the film’s success, as we’re sure that it will make next week’s MoviePass Member Top 5.

Andrew Garfield in Mel Gibson's Hacksaw Ridge#2: HACKSAW RIDGE

Synopsis: The true story of Pfc. Desmond T. Doss (Andrew Garfield), who won the Congressional Medal of Honor despite refusing to bear arms during WWII on religious grounds. Doss was drafted and ostracized by fellow soldiers for his pacifist stance but went on to earn respect and adoration for his bravery, selflessness and compassion after he risked his life — without firing a shot — to save 75 men in the Battle of Okinawa.

Claiming this weekend’s #2 spot is another critically-acclaimed film, Hacksaw Ridge. In its opening weekend, the film claimed 19.22% of member check-ins. Domestically, the film debuted at #3, earning approximately $14.75 million at a total of 2,886 theaters nationwide. With a Rotten Tomatoes score of 87%, Hacksaw Ridge has garnered positive reviews, with a rating of 4/5 stars from The Telegraph. And The Huffington Post tops that review, with a score of 10/10. So, it’s no surprise that there is already Oscar buzz surrounding the movie. In a cast that includes Andrew Garfield and Sam Worthington, Vince Vaughn’s performance shines. USA Today states,  “Vaughn is a revelation, combining the acerbic wit of his best comedy roles with a tough-guy edge and impressive emotion.” With Mel Gibson at the helm, you can be sure that the film combines violence and heart, to deliver a compelling feature (think: Braveheart and Apocalypto). 

DreamWorks' Trolls#3: TROLLS

Synopsis: After the Bergens invade Troll Village, Poppy (Anna Kendrick), the happiest Troll ever born, and the overly-cautious, curmudgeonly Branch (Justin Timberlake) set off on a journey to rescue her friends. Their mission is full of adventure and mishaps, as this mismatched duo try to tolerate each other long enough to get the job done.

At #3 on our list is the family-fun flick, Trolls, which claimed 7.99% of this weekend’s member check-ins. At the domestic box office, the film debuted in second place, earning $45.6 million on a $125 million budget. What may be most notable about the film, besides its playful colors, is its vibrant soundtrack which includes songs from its cast–Justin Timberlake, Anna Kendrick, and Gwen Stefani. Critically, the film has faired well with a score of 73% on Rotten Tomatoes. Andy Webster of The New York Times writes, “Amid a pastel palette, dazzling production numbers abound, the best at a glittering pizza palace roller disco.”

ht-inferno-movie-ml-161028_12x5_1600#4: INFERNO

Synopsis: Famous symbologist Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) follows a trail of clues tied to Dante, the great medieval poet. When Langdon wakes up in an Italian hospital with amnesia, he teams up with Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones), a doctor he hopes will help him recover his memories. Together, they race across Europe and against the clock to stop a madman (Ben Foster) from unleashing a virus that could wipe out half of the world’s population.

Entering this week’s list at #4 is last week’s member favorite, Inferno. In its second weekend, the film claimed 6.64% of member check-ins, compared to its initial 20.49%. At the domestic box office, Inferno fell three spots in ranking (from #2 to #5), earning $6.25 million. Overall, Inferno has received mostly negative reviews, with a Metacritic score of 42%It’s worth noting that of 47 reviews counted, 27 were mixed and 9 were positive. Overall, the Dan Brown trilogy, helmed by legendary director, Ron Howard, hasn’t faired well with critics. The first installment, The Da Vinci Code, only received a score of 25% on Rotten Tomatoes,  while Angels & Demons, the second film in the series, received a Rotten Tomatoes score of 37%. However, despite its negative reception, the series is a financial success, with a box office gross of $758.2 million for The Da Vinci Code and $485.9 million for Angels and Demons. We’re curious to see the final box office numbers for the latest entry, which currently has a worldwide gross of $184.8 million. 

Moonlight #5: MOONLIGHT

Synopsis: A young man deals with his dysfunctional home life and comes of age in Miami during the “War on Drugs” era. The story of his struggle to find himself is told across three defining chapters in his life as he experiences the ecstasy, pain, and beauty of falling in love while grappling with his own sexuality

And rounding out this weekend’s MoviePass Member Top 5 is a film that we’re excited to welcome to the list: Barry Jenkins’s Moonlight. Can we take a moment to gush about this movie?! Having played the Telluride, New York, and Hamptons International film festivals, the movie has been the object of critics’ adoration and high praise. Even the trailer is beautiful and emotionally compelling. During its third weekend in theaters, the film earned 3.29% of member check-ins. Nationwide, the film experienced a 56.7% theater expansion, which means that it now plays at 87 theaters across the country. With a weekend gross of $1.33 million, Moonlight currently ranks #11 (up from last week’s #16) at the box office.

Once again, here is a film that has a number of winning factors. First, it was acquired by A24, who has been on a winning streak with films such as, Ex MachinaThe WitchAmerican Honey, and 20th Century Women. For those who love indie films, A24 is a cinephile’s fantasy. So, the addition of Moonlight to its slate is no surprise. Another winning feature of the film is its cast which includes, Mahershala Ali (House of Cards), Naomie Harris (Skyfall), and André Holland (The Knick). And finally, the reviews have been spectacular with a 98% score on Rotten Tomatoes. Among these positive reviews, is one penned by The Boston Globe who states, “For the two hours you’re watching it, “Moonlight” feels like the only movie ever made.” We’ll be sure to share our review of the film, this week.

In Theater This Week (Click the title for the trailer)

Several highly anticipated films make their way to theaters, this weekend. Of course, the sci-fi lover in us is definitely going to see Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival. And the horror lover in us is going to see the thriller, Shut-In. And since it’s that time of year where the Oscar fare begins to emerge, we’re going to see the period drama, Loving. 

Amy Adams in ArrivalARRIVAL

Synopsis: Linguistics professor Louise Banks (Amy Adams) leads an elite team of investigators when humongous spaceships touch down in 12 locations around the world. As nations teeter on the verge of global war, Banks and her crew must race against time to find a way to communicate with the extraterrestrial visitors. Hoping to unravel the mystery, she takes a chance that could threaten her life and quite possibly all of mankind.

Naomi Watts in Shut-InSHUT IN

Synopsis: Mary (Naomi Watts) is a child psychologist who lives in isolation in rural New England after her husband dies in a horrific car accident. The tragedy also leaves her 18-year-old stepson Stephen (Charlie Heaton) in a bedridden, catatonic state, making him completely dependent on her. When one of Mary‘s young patients goes missing and is presumed dead, she becomes convinced that the boy’s (Jacob Tremblay) ghost is now haunting both her and Stephen.

Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga in LovingLOVING

Synopsis: Interracial couple Richard and Mildred Loving fell in love and were married in 1958. They grew up in Central Point, a small town in Virginia that was more integrated than surrounding areas in the American South. Yet it was the state of Virginia, where they were making their home and starting a family, that first jailed and then banished them. Richard and Mildred relocated with their children to the inner city of Washington, D.C., but the family ultimately tries to find a way back to Virginia.

Ang Lee's Billy Lynn's Long Halftime WalkBILLY LYNN’S LONG HALFTIME WALK

Synopsis: Nineteen-year-old private Billy Lynn (Joe Alwyn), along with his fellow soldiers in Bravo Squad, becomes a hero after a harrowing Iraq battle and is brought home temporarily for a victory tour. Through flashbacks, culminating at the spectacular halftime show of the Thanksgiving Day football game, what really happened to the squad is revealed, contrasting the realities of the war with America’s perceptions. Based on the novel by Ben Fountain.

Almost ChristmasALMOST CHRISTMAS

Synopsis: Walter (Danny Glover) is a retired automotive engineer who lost the love of his life one year earlier. Now that the holiday season is here, he invites his four grown children and the rest of the family to his house for a traditional celebration. Poor Walter knows that if daughters Rachel (Gabrielle Union) and Cheryl (Kimberly Elise) and sons Christian (Romany Malco) and Evan (Jessie T. Usher) can spend five days together under the same roof, it will truly be a Christmas miracle.

What films top your watchlist, this weekend?

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