MarvelBlog News for May 8th, 2022
This past weekend, the most significant Disney movie since Avengers: Endgame entered theaters. How did it do? I’d say it was about what you’d expect; Welcome to This week’s Doctor Strange-centered MarvelBlog News.
Yes, we’ll spend most of this week’s MarvelBlog talking about Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, the latest MCU blockbuster.
Welcome the Multiverse
After years of teases and false starts, the MCU finally entered the multiverse.
Oddly, this event had little to do with the conclusions of Loki or Spider-Man: No Way Home, both of which hinted at a Marvel multiverse.
Instead, the Doctor Strange sequel mostly started from scratch, picking up in the aftermath of Avengers: Endgame.
You may recall that Steven Strange dusted after Thanos’ Snap. So, he missed a lot over those five years.
For example, Strange is no longer the Sorcerer Supreme, something we learned in No Way Home. Instead, Wong has replaced him in the role.
Strange and Wong live in two places, the Sanctum Santorum in New York and Kamar-Taj in Kathmandu, Nepal.
This story involves their learning of a being capable of traversing the multiverse.
Other parties also take an interest in these abilities, including some other Doctor Stranges.
The character is a hero in various worlds, but he’s not above foul deeds in the name of the greater good, either.
That statement applies to Wanda Maximoff as well. The last time we saw her, she was in possession of the Darkhold. And she still misses her kids.
So, that’s the story here. We’ve got an interdimensional traveler, a powerful witch in possession of the Book of Sins, and two Sorcerer Supremes stuck in the middle.
What follows is a Marvel movie featuring some of the best fan service ever. However, the story also takes some turns that have left audiences cold.
Also, Sam Raimi of the Evil Dead (and Spider-Man) franchise directed the movie, and I swear that Multiverse of Madness plays out like a spiritual successor to Army of the Dead.
As such, the film hasn’t proven as accessible as No Way Home.
The Opening Weekend Facts
I’m mentioning the reception because it plays a factor in what happens next. But, for now, MarvelBlog News can truly report Doctor Strange 2 as an unqualified success.
The film opened to $185 million this weekend in North America, which is the 11th best debut ever. Also, remember that Disney notoriously underestimates its releases. So, the actual total is likely $190 million or higher.
The film’s Friday total of $90 million was the seventh-best opening day ever. Still, the domestic take undersells what Disney and Marvel accomplished here.
The film earned $450 million worldwide, which is the best global opening weekend of 2022.
To put that number in perspective, please consider that The Batman opened to $258 million worldwide during its opening weekend.
The multiverse of Madness almost reached that total domestically. In terms of global revenue, it earned roughly 75 percent more than The Batman, a movie that came out just two months ago.
Dr. Strange 2 Compared to No Way Home
Nobody reasonably expected Doctor Strange 2 to match No Way Home’s jaw-dropping performance. However, these results are closer than most had projected.
The Spider-Man film earned $601 million worldwide, $260 million of it from North America. Unfortunately, that’s such a pandemic outlier that we may never understand how it happened.
Still, MarvelBlog News reports that Doctor Strange 2 somehow got in that range with $450 in a weekend, which is 75 percent of that take. That’s…pretty good for a $200 million production.
Also, please remember that Multiverse of Madness didn’t gain theatrical release in China or Saudi Arabia for various reasons, and Disney isn’t playing anything in Russia.
Unfortunately, the rest of the news about Dr. Strange 2 isn’t as good. Audiences gave the film a B+ Cinemascore.
That’s better than Eternals, which had a B, but it’s not as good as Black Widow, which had an A-. So that’s the range here.
Meanwhile, critics graded Multiverse of Madness at 75 percent, which is again lower than Black Widow.
What Happens Next?
Well, I never say never with movies, as I’ve learned the hard way over the years that anything is possible.
However, based on what usually happens, Doctor Strange 2 appears frontloaded. That’s an industry term that means its box office will fall off quickly.
No Way Home had great legs, earning $540 million after opening weekend domestically.
Spider-Man’s Cinemascore was the rarest of rare A+, though. Also, its Rotten Tomatoes grade was 93 percent. So it’s a vastly superior film by any objective measure.
The Batman’s post-opening weekend behavior is probably a better comparison. That film earned an A- Cinemascore and is 85 percent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.
So, critics and opening day audiences actually preferred The Batman (they’re wrong and borderline insane).
If Dr. Strange 2 follows a slightly lower trajectory than The Batman, its final domestic take is probably in the range of $500 million, which is spectacular.
Those numbers strike me as optimistic, though. I don’t think this film maintains its heat for that long. If it’d been better, I’d like its chances more.
Still, I don’t want to bury the lede here. Disney has just opened its most successful movie during the pandemic BY FAR!
Remember that No Way Home was a Sony title. Yes, Disney takes some of the revenue, but it’s a small cut. With Multiverse of Madness, Disney gets it all.
So, I suspect everyone’s happy enough, although I worry that people may come to view Dr. Strange 2 in the same way as Spider-Man 3, with its “jazz hands” debacle.
I loved the film, but I think the choice of villains has proven too divisive, something I’m confident Marvel anticipated.
I’m genuinely curious to see what happens next with the four main characters here.
And that’s your dose of MarvelBlog News, have an awesome week everyone!