Box Office Report: ‘Doctor Strange’ Dominates with 11th Highest Opening of All Time

By Matthew Moorcroft

Welcome to summer! With audiences slowly beginning to return to theaters, Marvel opens up May with one of the biggest films of the year. But how well did it do, actually? Let’s break it down.

1 – Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness ($187 million)

The question wasn’t how Doctor Strange was gonna do, but how big. The highly anticipated sequel not only comes across the heels of No Way Home‘s massive success, but also the character’s numerous Avengers appearances which historically has led to a boost in numbers for sequels. The original Doctor Strange opened with $85 million back in 2016, and this film ended doubling that number with a massive $187 million opening. This ranks it as the 11th highest opening weekend of all time just shy of Avengers: Age of Ultron at $191 million, as well as the biggest sequel boost of any MCU film.

It’s large opening can be attributed to a variety of factors, from Doctor Strange‘s appearances in other more popular films, WandaVision‘s popularity with the general public, and the fan fever around the possibility of cameo appearances and a multiversal storyline similar to No Way Home. And while some estimates had it as high as possibly $200 million+, Disney played it safe and was predicting around $170 million for the weekend and it performing a bit overexpectations definitely looks good on their shareholders.

With the film already at around $450 million worldwide, the film should absolutely reach $700 million by next week and will likely hit a billion, but the question is how far can it actually go? The film’s large weekend aside, audience and critical reception has been notably divisive – it’s B+ Cinemascore ranks as one of only three Marvel films to not be in the A range. That being said, this low Cinemascore is par for the course for Sam Raimi who has always been divisive with casual audiences. Time will tell how well it does when the second weekend numbers come in, but for now the film has done exceptional business.

2 – The Bad Guys ($9.8 million)

With the best hold of the Top 5 this weekend (40%), The Bad Guys continues to trek along very nicely. With a $9.8 million haul for it’s third weekend, the film is at $57.8 million domestically which places it in a very great spot to reach $70 million and meet it’s budget. The lack of competition really seems to be helping it out and it should continue that way throughout the month of May and could possibly stay in the Top 5 for weeks to come.

We see a more interesting story going into the international numbers for the film however. At $148 million worldwide, the film’s budget is doubled and now is clearly starting to make a profit for DreamWorks, whose success on this film could determine the direction for the studio going forward as they struggle to find success’ over the past couple of years.

Can the film hit $200 million worldwide? Hard to say at this point. It seems to be slowing down in international markets but it could slowly trek it’s way to $200 million as, again, the lack of animated competition until Lightyear gives it a boost. As it stands, it’s another case of a film’s legs being more powerful then expected.

3 – Sonic the Hedgehog 2 ($6.2 million)

Speaking of success stories, Sonic 2 fared decently well as well over the weekend pulling in another $6.2 million to add to it’s growing $169.9 million domestic total. With a drop of 46%, it held better then expected against the might of Multiverse of Madness and continues to show that Paramount has been making the right decisions in handling this franchise.

At $349.4 million worldwide as well, the film is now finally in a great spot to catch up to Uncharted, which it has lagged behind in several markets and has a chance of hitting past $400 million, which would put it as the second highest grossing video game movie of all time worldwide only behind Warcraft‘s $439 million. It’s unlikely it will do this without Japan, where the film isn’t expected to open until August, but it could come close as it’s holds and legs have been substantial.

The next goal for the film would be to hit $200 million domestic, which is a wild card at the moment. The film’s biggest competition may up being itself as it’s expected to hit Paramount+ on May 24th, which is just in time for Paramount to focus all in on Top Gun: Maverick the same week. Still, whatever it’s final numbers end up being, it’s some impressive work across the board and good indications that the Sonic franchise will live on.

4 – Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore ($4 million)

With a 53% drop, the biggest in the Top 5, Fantastic Beasts continues to limp along and barely survive as it makes another $4 million to add to it’s now dismal $86 million domestic total. While it has a chance to barely make $100 million, the fact remains that it’s still a wild card on whether or not it can even make that going forward.

And it’s likely only going to get worse for the film. With almost 1000 theaters lost from last week, the film is dropping like flies and the lack of interest from general audiences is abundantly clear now. And with zero word on the future of the franchise (never a good sign) we likely won’t here about anymore Wizarding World movies for at least a good little bit.

It’s sole saving grace might be the international markets, where it has cooked up $363.7 million worldwide and should be able to hit $400 million, albeit barely. International audiences are dropping off as well but not nearly as badly as domestic ones, which could Warner Bros could use to refocus their interests on the franchise.

5 – Everything Everywhere All At Once ($3.3 million)

In the continuing story of the little movie that could, Everything Everywhere All At Once continues to be strong at the box office despite Multiverse of Madness stealing it’s thunder. Dropping only 40% and grossing another $3.3 million, the film has passed $40 million domestically and continues to trek along with an impressive will.

Already one of A24’s highest grossing films, the film’s continued performance also shows that audiences are willing to support smaller indie fare, and while we have yet to see if Everything Everywhere All At Once is an anomaly or not in that regard it’s still great to see a film like this get the love it absolutely deserves. The film’s lack of a worldwide release outside of a couple of countries means the film is relying on domestic totals for it’s haul and it’s low budget means it is certainly going to make a profit.

At this point, the only thing left for the film is awards season, where it’s pretty much guaranteed to pick up nominations and maybe even some wins. How far can it go? The answer may be further then you think.

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