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‘Grinch’ Brings Holiday Cheer With Decisive Box-Office Victory

The Grinch, an animated remake featuring Benedict Cumberbatch as the green grouch, stole the weekend at the North American box office.

The film, the latest take on the 1957 Dr. Seuss children’s book How the Grinch Stole Christmas, took in $66 million in ticket sales, Comscore Inc. said in an email. The movie was from Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment.

The success of Grinch suggests it could have legs, especially as Thanksgiving approaches and the Christmas holiday season gets underway. It also revives a franchise for Comcast Corp.’s Universal—18 years after Jim Carrey turned a live-action Grinch movie into a hit.

Though reviews were mixed (Grinch had a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 55%, just below “fresh”), Cumberbatch’s growing star power was a draw for audiences. The English actor has become a full-fledged movie star thanks to turns in the Avengers and Star Trek movies.

In winning the weekend, Grinch beat Paramount Pictures’ Overlord, a zombie film that took in $10.1 million to take third place.

Coming in fifth place was Sony Pictures’ The Girl in the Spider’s Web, an attempt to extend that series beyond the original books from late Swedish writer Stieg Larsson—and turn central character Lisbeth Salander into more of an action hero. It generated $8.01 million.