FILM-MIDWAY-REVIEW

Aaron Eckhart, center, plays Jimmy Doolittle in “Midway.”

Timed for Veterans Day, “Midway” opened as the surprise top film in North America, exceeding forecasts and beating the Stephen King adaptation “Doctor Sleep.”

The World War II picture from Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. opened with sales of $17.5 million at U.S. and Canadian theaters, researcher Comscore Inc. estimated Sunday. Analysts had expected $11.4 million to $15 million. Four films opened in wide release.

“Midway” cost $100 million to make. The film chronicles the pivotal naval battle between the U.S. and Japan that took place six months after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

The film, directed by Roland Emmerich, stars Woody Harrelson, Mandy Moore, Patrick Wilson, Dennis Quaid, Aaron Eckhart, Nick Jonas, Luke Evans and Ed Skrein.

“Doctor Sleep,” Warner Bros.’ sequel to the 1980s horror classic “The Shining” from King, opened with $14.1 million. Analysts were forecasting $25 million to $28 million. The movie from AT&T Inc.’s studio division had a production budget of $45 million.

The film picks up the story of the horror classic that was directed by Stanley Kubrick and starred Jack Nicholson. Ewan McGregor plays the grown-up Danny, the son of Nicholson’s character. He told the Hollywood Reporter that the star’s 40-year-old performance shaped his work. “I’m playing his son, and I wanted to feel like really his son,” McGregor said.

“Playing With Fire,” a family comedy from Paramount about firefighters rescuing rambunctious kids, opened with $12.8 million. Analysts were expecting $8 million.

“Last Christmas,” the Universal Pictures romantic comedy featuring “Game of Thrones” star Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding from “Crazy Rich Asians,” checked in with sales of $11.6 million. Analysts were expecting $14 million to $16.5 million.

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