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‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ Summons Biggest Box Office Opening of 2022 With $185 Million

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness debuted with a stupendous $185 million in its opening weekend, finishing at the higher end of Disney’s conservative estimates. The superhero film wasn’t able to deliver a $200 million-plus opening, as many were predicting after its spectacular $90 million first day haul, but a $185 million debut is nothing to scoff at, especially when you consider that the first Doctor Strange movie concluded its domestic run with $232 million in 2016.

Doctor Strange 2 outgrossed its predecessor’s entire opening weekend tally on day one alone, and it marks a return to form for Disney’s Marvel films after a lackluster 2021, which was exacerbated by the pandemic. By comparison, Black Widow made $80 million in theaters (and another $60 million on Disney+ premium access), Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings made $75 million and Eternals made $71 million in their opening weekends, respectively.

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Spider-Man: No Way Home debuted to $260 million in December, but that was a Sony title. Doctor Strange 2, which brings back Benedict Cumberbatch in the titular role and marks a return to superhero filmmaking for director Sam Raimi, is playing like a direct follow-up to the record-breaking No Way Home. This was to be expected, considering how prominently Strange appeared in that film, and how directly the two films’ multiverse-hopping plots are connected.

RELATED: Doctor Strange 2: Is [Spoiler] Going to Be In the ‘Fantastic Four’ Movie?

According to Disney, 36% of Doctor Strange 2’s debut haul came from premium formats such as IMAX and 3D. The film reportedly cost $200 million to produce, and is exactly the kind of success that exhibitors would have been hoping for to kickstart the summer movie season.

Universal’s animated heist comedy The Bad Guys slipped to the number two spot after a couple of weeks at the top. The film is expected to have made $9.7 million this weekend, taking its running domestic total to $57 million.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 claimed the number three spot with $6.2 million, and has nearly $170 million in the bank domestically after five weeks. The film has crossed the lifetime haul of its predecessor ($148 million), which was among the last pre-pandemic theatrical hits. A sequel and a spinoff are in the works.

The Harry Potter spinoff Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore took the fourth spot, continuing its downward spiral. The $200 million-budgeted sequel made another $3.8 million this weekend, taking its running domestic total to $86 million. Warner Bros. was said to be examining the box office performance of this film before green lighting future installments, and it’s looking grimmer by the day.

In happier news, A24’s Everything Everywhere All at Once took the fifth spot for the second weekend in a row, bringing in another $2.7 million to take its running domestic total to a tremendous $41 million. The word-of-mouth hit is playing in over 2,400 theaters, and has truly transcended its arthouse origins.

Expect Doctor Strange 2 to dominate the box office in the coming weeks, at least until Top Gun: Maverick lands later this month, and stay tuned to Collider for more updates.


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