That summer movie season is a blockbuster launch 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. announced Sunday.
Not only has it more than doubled the opening of the first Doctor Strange, which opened at $85 million in 2016, it’s also the biggest opener of the year, ahead of The Batman at $134 million; the second-biggest of the pandemic, behind Spider-Man: Far From Home at $260.1 million; and the sixth largest of all time worldwide.
Internationally, it’s doing even better, with an estimated $265 million since opening on Wednesday. Overall, “Doctor Strange 2” has already grossed $ 450 million.
Spider-Man owes at least part of the credit for the massive debut. Benedict Cumberbatch’s powerful wizard appeared prominently in ” Spider-Man: No Way Home‘, which has become the third-biggest film of all time since it premiered in December. Doctor Strange 2 picks up several months after the events of No Way Home and brings Elizabeth Olsen’s Wanda Maximoff, made even more popular thanks to the recent Disney+ series “WandaVision.”
The film also has a gigantic footprint. It’s running in 4,534 theaters in the US and Canada alone, making it the seventh-biggest opening of all time, according to Disney. Premium format screens, including IMAX and 3D, accounted for 36% of the total box office.
Sam Raimi took over the direction of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which reportedly cost around $200 million to make — though that figure doesn’t take into account the many millions more spent on marketing and advertising.
Over the weekend, the film was trending on social media for everything from its many cameos to a lively debate over its PG-13 rating and whether or not the horror elements warranted something more restrictive.
Little was left for other films that were shown in cinemas. Part of this is due to the fact that many multiplexes have packed their theaters with Doctor Strange screenings. Film critic Matt Singer tweeted a photo of a Manhattan AMC offering 70 showings on Thursday alone.
Universal and DreamWorks Animation’s “The Bad Guys” fell to second place in its third weekend with an estimated $9.8 million, while Paramount’s “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” fell in third place with $6.2 million landed.
“Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore” took fourth place with $3.9 million, bringing the domestic total to $86 million. And in fifth place was another Multiverse film, Everything Everywhere All At Once. It’s had a slight dip in its seventh weekend, but still blasts into theaters with an additional $3.3 million from 1,542 screens in its seventh weekend. The A24 film has grossed $41.6 million overall.
Follow AP film writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ldbahr
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