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'Doctor Strange' endures, 'SNL' has blues cures

Also in Tattle: Sly Stallone's daughters, Project Runway's local contender's still in it, MJ's ‘Black or White’ video turns 25

Benedict Cumberbatch as Marvel's Doctor Strange.
Benedict Cumberbatch as Marvel's Doctor Strange.Read moreWalt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

THOUSANDS of action-addicted moviegoers called on Doctor Strange for the second weekend straight, maintaining the Benedict Cumberbatch-starring blockbuster's slot atop the North American box-office heap. Following last week's smash debut, Marvel's Doctor Strange again led the pack with $43 million in receipts, according to studio estimates Sunday. That was an especially strong hold for the superhero superhit, nearing $500 million globally.

Hanging on to its respectable second-place spot is Trolls, 20th Century Fox's animated musical featuring Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake, which also held up well in its Week 2 of release with $35.1 million.

Denis Villeneuve's thrill-filled science-fiction drama Arrival scored the weekend's top debut with a better-than-expected $24 million for Paramount Pictures. The first holiday-themed release to hit theaters this season, Universal Pictures' Almost Christmas, opened in fourth, debuting with a $15.6 million take. Among the family-gathering ensemble comedy's cast is Danny Glover, Mo'Nique, Jessie Usher and Gabrielle Union.

Another 'SNL' for the ages

We bet Friday's lunch money that Hillary Clinton would surprise Saturday Night Live viewers with a post-election revisit of Val, the affable Finn McCool's bartender she portrayed just over a year ago opposite the always-brilliant Kate McKinnon as the then-presidential hopeful. What else could reasonably calm the uneasy spirits of longtime HRC supporters who'd turned out in droves Tuesday to elect America's first female president?

Silly us for even questioning SNL's uncanny genius.

McKinnon's who-knew musicianship on the piano was used to wondrous effect for the show's cold open, creating a tearjerking tribute to both legendary songcrafter Leonard Cohen and Clinton's tremendous heart during a brutally fought campaign. "I'm not giving up, and neither should you," McKinnon-as-Clinton pointedly said to the camera after singing Cohen's haunting "Hallelujah."

And that was just the beginning. Guest host Dave Chappelle provided the best SNL monologue in recent memory via a stinging 10-minute stand-up set, after which he and always-welcome-surprise Chris Rock offered a hysterically deadpan appearance in a telling Election Night sketch; sorely missed characters from Chappelle's Show made cameos, and A Tribe Called Quest's Q-Tip and Jarobi unfurled a banner of late, great groupmate Malik "Phife" Taylor. Trust, these few highlights don't do it justice: All that buzz Sunday was well-deserved.


* Congratulations to Sylvester Stallone's daughters - Sophia, Sistine and Scarlet, 20, 18 and 14, respectively - for their recent joint pick as Miss Golden Globe 2017, the 74-year-old award ceremony's first triple-selection crown. Past progeny of famed folk formerly tasked with handing trophies to the night's winners include Corinne Foxx, daughter of Jamie Foxx; Sosie Bacon, daughter of Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick, and Mavis Spencer, daughter of Alfre Woodard.

* Gotta love that local designer Mah-Jing Wong is still capably holding his own on Project Runway's 15th (!) season, airing Thursday nights on Lifetime. He truly slayed (but didn't win) last week's challenge, for which he created a uniquely-fly, origami-style leather outfit for his uber-talented mama, Philly-reppin' rapstess Bahamadia. The pride is high on that one.

Howard Gensler will return Nov. 28.

- Daily News wire services contributed to this report.