Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is projected to have a staggering opening weekend of around $175 million, smashing The Batman’s 2022 record. The film, which hits theaters on May 6, 2022, is the second solo film to feature Benedict Cumberbatch’s sorcerer Doctor Strange in the lead after 2016’s Doctor Strange, which featured him training under the Ancient One. Despite the gap between the original film and its sequel, the character has only grown in popularity off the back of his appearances in the Avengers crossover films Infinity War and Endgame, as well as the 2021 megahit Spider-Man: No Way Home, which is now the third highest-grossing domestic film of all time.
Doctor Strange 2 will follow up on the events of No Way Home, in which Peter Parker asked Doctor Strange to cast a spell that went wrong and caused the multiverse to fold in on itself. Although the problem was seemingly solved, in this film Strange will discover the wide-ranging consequences of the spell are continuing to have a ripple effect, and he will have to face off against multiversal variants including an evil Doctor Strange as a terrifying new threat emerges. He will team up with new Sorcerer Supreme Wong (Benedict Wong) and multiverse-hopping heroine America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez) to help, along with the questionably aligned Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), fresh from her 2021 miniseries WandaVision. Per Variety, current projections place Doctor Strange 2’s opening weekend haul somewhere between $160 million and $200 million. Considering that the film has already amassed over $65 million in pre-sale tickets, it’s entirely likely that its three-day total will land somewhere around $175 million in the domestic box office. Even if it hits the lower end of its range, it will beat out 2022’s previous top opening weekend gross, which was The Batman’s $134 million. A total of $175 million would also give Doctor Strange the record of the second-best opening weekend of the pandemic era, behind Spider-Man: No Way Home’s record-breaking $260 million. While it pales in comparison to the box office-smashing crossover hit of Spider-Man, this opening weekend take will likely more than double that of the original Doctor Strange. That original film, which was helmed by Sinister director Scott Derrickson, only made $85 million in the pre-pandemic box office era.
The multiverse has clearly become a huge draw for Marvel fans, so it remains to be seen if this staggering gross for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is riding on the high of No Way Home or merely predicting a new wave of successes for Marvel in 2022. The company will follow up this project, their first theatrical film of the year, with even more films featuring returning Avengers heroes including Thor: Love and Thunder and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Should Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness end the year at number 1, it will be proof that multiverses and crossovers reign supreme.
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