Box Office Report: ‘Doctor Strange’ Stays Put, ‘Firestarter’ Fizzles


By Matthew Moorcroft

A new release this weekend goes to battle against reigning champion Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Does it work out? Let’s break it down.

1 – Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness ($61 million)

Unsurprisingly, Doctor Strange held onto the first place spot in it’s second weekend, albeit with a ton of trepidation in regards to it’s actual performance. Making an additional $61 million, the film has reached $291.9 million domestically already, having already surpassed the first Doctor Strange back in 2016 which ended it’s run with a respectable $232.6 million. With a worldwide total of $688.1 million, also surpassing the original’s $677.8 million haul, Doctor Strange could end up anywhere from $900 million to $1 billion worldwide, an impressive jump up from the prior film.

It’s drop was rather large though. Despite having zero competition, the film fell 67% in it’s second weekend, which ties with Spider-Man: No Way Home for the second largest drop of the entire MCU (the highest being Black Widow with 68%, released during midst of the pandemic). This could indicate that similar to No Way Home, Multiverse of Madness was extremely frontloaded, and while this is definitely the case divisive word of mouth is also likely causing the harsh drops. While the film is definitely leaning positive in casual audience scores, MCU fans are notably more divided on the film which could indicate a lack of interest in rewatches.

Still, the film is in a good spot to be extremely profitable for Disney and another win for the Marvel machine. Much of it’s 2021 slate outside of No Way Home were underperformers due to the pandemic yet still managed to gain profits so with theaters nearly back in full swing we could be seeing Marvel dominate on the regular once again.

2 – The Bad Guys ($6.9 million)

Holding exceptionally well once again with a 28% drop, The Bad Guys grossed yet another $6.9 million in it’s 4th weekend of release to hit $66.3 million domestically. As mentioned in weeks prior, it’s great performance bodes well for future family films while also the lack of competition really allowing it to flourish and be the go to movie right now for animated fun.

The film also held well in China, which has been struggling in the market due to another COVID outbreak and still managed to push it ever closer to $100 million internationally (it’s at $99.2 million currently), with the current worldwide total being $165.6 million. If the film keeps this up, the film should be able to hit $200 million worldwide easily, though it likely won’t go much further then that as several heavy box office hitters are about to land.

It’s good performance also bodes well for Lightyear in June, which is expected to light up movie theaters and do excellent business. Pixar films are a brand onto themselves and if The Bad Guys can hold exceptionally well then Lightyear is in a great position to prove to Disney why Pixar should be left in theaters. Either way, The Bad Guys continues to be one of the surprise success stories of the year.

3 – Sonic the Hedgehog 2 ($4.6 million)

Speaking of massive successes, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 continues to trek along and add another $4.6 million to it’s haul for a total of $175.5 million domestically. While it’s seeming more and more unlikely now that the film will reach $200 million domestically, this is still a great number for the film and bodes well for it’s sequel which most certainly will hit past $200 million.

Worldwide, the film is at $355.2 million, which places it ever closer to Uncharted from this year which stands at $395.8 million. While it could surpass that, passing Warcraft without Japan is likely not happening as the film begins to slow down pretty much everywhere it prep for it’s Paramount+ release on May 24th.

Still, it’s a great run and while it still has one more weekend left to go before it hits streaming and inevitably halts the breaks in theaters, this is a solid haul and proves that video game movies are in with general audiences.

4 – Firestarter ($3.8 million)

The only new big release of the weekend ended up burning out before it could even flame up. Firestarter opened with an abysmal $3.8 million, struggling against the sea of other releases as well as negative audience and critical reception. It’s C- Cinemascore didn’t bode well going into the weekend and the lack of critic screenings as well likely soured the tastes of most audiences prior to the film coming out.

For the record, the original 1984 Firestarter opened with $4.5 million in it’s day, which indicates just how poorly this new one fared. Especially when compared to other Stephen King adaptations like the recent Pet Sematary which opened with a solid $24.5 million in 2019, this is pretty much a career worst for everybody involved. It’s low budget of $12 million at least ensures that nobody is gonna walk away too badly, but it’s also a sign that audiences could be sick of Stephen King once again.

Or, more likely, is the poor release timing and strategy of the film. The film also released on Peacock at the same time and while Universal didn’t release streaming numbers, it’s very likely that it ate into it’s theatrical numbers particularly with the bad reviews. Most of the people who watched it likely stuck to streaming due to that, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Universal rethinks it’s current method of theatrical/Peacock dual releases after this. Yikes.

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

With the lowest drop of the Top 10 at just 6% and adding an additional 184 theaters back onto it’s wide release, the indie darling Everything Everywhere All At Once has become A24’s biggest success story ever. At $47 million, it is officially on it’s way to surpass Uncet Gems $50 million haul to become their most successful film domestically, and with it’s recent openings in the UK and the rest of Europe it has hit $51.8 million worldwide.

The big question now can it beat Hereditary’s worldwide haul of $80.2 million, which remains A24’s biggest film across the board. The answer is that it’s too early to tell, as it has just opened in several key markets and several have still yet to open, as such it’s gonna be hard to tell how well it can actually do until next week.

But it’s real strength is that it’s an example about how word of mouth is still an important tool for success and growth. Despite having a small opening, word of mouth simply got around for the film and rewatches are high with it – general audiences are responding to the movie like they would a superhero film which bodes well for the film going forward into awards season.


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