As predicted, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness caused a box office frenzy and set several precedents: the best bow of a Disney film in the pandemic era; and the biggest opening figures so far this year.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe epic, respected filmmaker Sam Raimi’s first movie after almost ten years, made $185 million, which was on the high end of expectations. The sequel’s numbers marked the second-best debut in the COVID-19 health crisis era, behind the $260.1 million of Spider-Man: No Way Home.
The 28th MCU film stars Benedict Cumberbatch, back as Doctor Strange, as created by Steve Ditko and Stan Lee, Elisabeth Olsen (Wanda Maximoff), Chiwetel Ejiofor (Baron Mordo), Benedict Wong (Wong), Rachel McAdams (Dr. Christine Palmer) and Michael Stuhlbarg (Dr. Nic West).
Mother’s Day celebration Sunday did not appear to significantly impact the movie ticket sales in North America. While The Bad Guys fell to second place, the animation adventure-comedy still made $10.36 million on its third weekend.
Another animated movie, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, stayed in third with $6.6 million for a total so far of $170.3 million.
Fourth placer Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore collected $4 million and tallied $86.1 million, which still lags behind the previous numbers of the first two installments.
That other multiverse madness film, Everything Everywhere All at Once, picked up $3.6 million to land fifth. With its cumulative earnings of $41.8 million, the Asian cast-led movie is now one of the biggest hits of A24 in its history of specializing in indie cinema releases.
Making up the rest of the top ten were, in order, Alexander Skarsgård’s The Northman, $2.9 million; Channing Tatum and Sandra Bullock’s The Lost City, $2.485 million (solid $94.3 million after seven weeks); Nicolas Cage’ The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, $1.56 million; Liam Neeson’s Memory, $1.35 million; and Mark Wahlberg’s Father Stu, $870,000.
Overseas, Raimi’s superhero genre return is also stirring box office madness. Doctor Strange 2 drew $265 million and grossed $450 million globally. Benedict Cumberbatch’s return as the neurosurgeon who becomes the Master of the Mystic Arts drew the biggest COVID period weekend debut in Korea, the Philippines, Chile, Romania, Malaysia, Trinidad, Thailand, and Singapore.
Korea also raised the film’s highest overseas revenues, along with Italy, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Mexico, Brazil, Australia, India, Australia, Japan, Malaysia, and Indonesia.
Revenues from 3D and IMAX screenings added significantly to the Doctor Strange sequel’s ticket sales domestically and internationally. Brazil topped the nations that drew huge revenues from the movie’s premium large-screen format screenings. Almost 50% of that country’s Multiverse of Madness ticket revenues came from 3D showings.
In other offshore box office news, Focus/Universal’s early release of director Simon Curtis and writer Julian Fellowes’ Downton Abbey: A New Era is proving to be a smart counterprogramming to Marvel’s superhero extravaganza.
The big-screen comeback of the aristocratic family and their downstairs staff, with new and returning cast members, including Maggie Smith, Hugh Bonneville, Michelle Dockery, Jonathan Zaccai, Elizabeth McGovern, Dominic West, Hugh Dancy, Laura Haddock, and Sophie McShera, fetched $6.6 million or $22.3 million overall tally so far.