‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’, the 28th entry in the expansive Marvel Cinematic Universe, raked in $185 million at the North American box office over the weekend, making it the biggest theatrical debut ever. of the year to date, according to studio estimates Sunday.
The elaborately titled fantasy epic, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Elizabeth Olsen, raised another $265 million in overseas markets for a $450 million worldwide opening weekend, according to Walt Disney Pictures, the parent company of Marvel Studios.
The sequel’s $185 million domestic haul makes it the U.S. film industry’s 11th-biggest opening, sandwiched between “Incredibles 2” ($182.7 million) and “Avengers: Age of Ultron” ( $191.3 million), according to Disney.
The film also landed the second-biggest domestic debut of the pandemic era — behind only Marvel’s “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” which earned $260 million ticket sales in North America when it hits theaters in December.
The film “continues a Marvel summer tradition with this massive debut by igniting the spark that will ignite what promises to be a very strong summer movie season in theaters,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore. , a society. which tracks box office data.
The film is a sequel to “Doctor Strange,” a psychedelic origin story released in 2016, and a continuation of the main storyline of 2021’s “WandaVision,” a Disney+ streaming series starring Olsen as a grieving witch known as Scarlet. Witch.
The commercial triumph of ‘Multiverse’ is the latest sign that the public’s appetite for Marvel-branded entertainment remains insatiable – even after the release of nearly 30 superhero sagas dating back to 2008’s ‘Iron Man’.
Marvel’s box office hegemony often comes at the expense of other Hollywood releases, including adult dramas and indie fare that have largely struggled to attract mass ticket buyers during the pandemic. In some cases, studios have diverted non-hit titles to their owned-and-operated streaming platforms.
The new “Doctor Strange” was directed by Sam Raimi, an offbeat visual stylist who helped propel comic book movies to commercial wealth and critical esteem with the original “Spider-Man” trilogy in the early 2000s. . The new “Strange” screenplay was written by Michael Waldronwho created the Disney+ show “Loki.”
“Multiverse” is likely to stay in multiplexes for the coming weeks, though it will face competition from another big-budget show on Memorial Day weekend: “Top Gun: Maverick.” , a flashy Tom Cruise vehicle set to hit theaters in May. 27.
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