Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is making magic — and money — at the box office. The Marvel Studios sequel, teaming franchise stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Elizabeth Olsen with Spider-Man trilogy director Sam Raimi, cast a spell over the weekend with a global $450 million, Marvel’s fourth-best worldwide opening behind Avengers: Endgame, Avengers: Infinity War, and Spider-Man: No Way Home. After Strange’s return opposite Tom Holland in Sony-Marvel’s No Way Home in December, Doctor Strange 2 scored the second-biggest domestic start of the pandemic era and the 11th-best North American opening weekend of all time.
Those are numbers that Disney CEO Bob Chapek championed during an earnings call on Wednesday, highlighting “the phenomenal success” of the Marvel Studios blockbuster that has since grossed an estimated $507 million worldwide since opening exclusively in theaters on May 6.
“[Doctor Strange 2] opened to roughly $450 million worldwide this past weekend. Domestically, it was the second-highest opening of the pandemic era and the 11th-highest opening of all time,” Chapek said on the call, also touting the streaming success of Pixar’s Turning Red, Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The Book of Boba Fett, and Marvel Studios Original series Moon Knight on Disney+.
“Looking ahead, our studios will continue to deliver high-quality content at scale with an exciting array of series and films coming to all of our distribution channels,” Chapek continued. “In fact, our slate for the remainder of this year is incredibly strong with titles like Obi-Wan Kenobi, Ms. Marvel, Lightyear, Thor: Love and Thunder, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, and the long-anticipated Avatar: The Way of Water.”
After experimenting with day-and-date releases for Marvel blockbuster Black Widow and the Dwayne Johnson-starring Jungle Cruise last summer via Disney+ Premier Access, a response to theater closures amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Disney returned to a guaranteed 45-day exclusive theatrical window for Marvel movies Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and Eternals. Pixar’s Turning Red had a direct-to-streaming premiere on Disney+ except in countries without the service, becoming the fastest title to reach 200 million hours viewed on the platform.
“Our strategy of distribution flexibility has worked well for us,” Chapek said. “And these fantastic results are another sign of our ability to succeed, no matter the platform.”
Starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Elizabeth Olsen, Benedict Wong, Xochitl Gomez, with Michael St?hlbarg, and Rachel McAdams, Marvel’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is now playing only in theaters.