LOS ANGELES — A strong batch of new films drew audiences to the theaters in large numbers this weekend, including Marvel’s “Doctor Strange,” the animated “Trolls” and Mel Gibson’s World War II drama “Hacksaw Ridge,” effectively waking up the sleepy fall box office. The top three films all garnered largely positive reviews from critics and all recorded A CinemaScores from opening weekend audiences.

As the superhero in the bunch, “Doctor Strange” easily dominated with $85 million in North America theaters, according to studio estimates Sunday. Starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the neurosurgeon turned sorcerer, “Doctor Strange” opened internationally last weekend. It’s already grossed $325.4 million globally.

It’s the 14th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the 14th to open at No. 1. As one of the lesser-known properties, it far surpassed “Ant-Man’s” $57.2 million launch, but fell short of “Guardians of the Galaxy’s” $94.3 million debut.

Much of the “Doctor Strange” business came from premium large format screens and 3D showings, which, according to RealD, made up 47 percent of the domestic gross.

“Movie theaters exist for a movie like ‘Doctor Strange,”‘ said Dave Hollis, executive vice president of distribution for The Walt Disney Co.

For one, Hollis said, it’s just visually different.

“Having something that arrests and totally disrupts what people are expecting to see inside of a movie theater is part of what will help jump-start what has been a bit of a slower box office lately, which is good not only for us but for the entire marketplace,” Hollis said.

The weekend also drove Walt Disney Studios to surpass the $6 billion mark globally – a first for the studio and a second for the industry.

Disney wasn’t the only one celebrating. DreamWorks Animation’s “Trolls,” a family-friendly musical featuring the voices of Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake, took second place with $45.6 million in North America, and $30 million internationally.

– Associated Press