The summer movie season is off to a blockbuster start thanks to “ Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness.” The superhero extravaganza grossed an estimated $185 million in ticket sales in its first weekend in US and Canadian theaters, the Walt Disney Co. said Sunday.
Not only did it more than double the opening of the first “Doctor Strange,” which opened to $85 million in 2016, it’s also the biggest opener of the year, ahead of “The Batman’s” $134 million; the second biggest of the pandemic, behind “Spider-Man: Far From Home’s” $260.1 million; and the sixth biggest of all time globally.
Internationally, it’s doing even better with an estimated $265 million since opening Wednesday. In total, “Doctor Strange 2” has already made $450 million.
Spider-Man is at least partially to thank for the massive debut. Benedict Cumberbatch’s powerful sorcerer appeared prominently in “ Spider-Man: No Way Home,” which has become the third biggest movie of all time since opening in December. “Doctor Strange 2” picks up several months after the events of “No Way Home,” and brings in Elizabeth Olsen’s Wanda Maximoff, who became even more popular thanks to the recent Disney+ series “WandaVision.”
The film also has a gigantic footprint. It's playing in 4,534 theaters in the US and Canada alone, which according to Disney is the seventh widest opening ever. Premium format screens, including IMAX and 3D, accounted for 36% of the overall box office.
Sam Raimi stepped up to direct “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” which reportedly cost around $200 million to make — though that number doesn’t account for the many more millions spent on marketing and promotion.