Summer movie season begins as scheduled for the first time in three years with the highly anticipated release of Disney and Marvel Studios’ Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness on May 6.
For those not keeping track, the last “normal” beginning of summer movie season saw the all-time weekend record go down with the historic performance of Avengers: Endgame in 2019.
In 2020, virtually all movie theaters except many drive-ins and sporadic independent locations were shuttered due to the pandemic.
Last year, re-openings were nascent as vaccines slowly made an impact on social comfort, while studios continued bracing for more setbacks with staggered release plans for major films.
This year, the industry will be one step closer to normalcy as the heart of the year begins in early May as it traditionally has for the past two decades.
Analysis and preliminary ranges are below. As always, forecasts should continue to evolve leading up to release as more data points and clarity around audience reception will likely help clarify potential.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
Disney / Marvel Studios
Friday, May 6
- Anticipation is sky-high for the continuation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s dive into the multiverse, a major story arc of Phase 4 that was kickstarted by Endgame before becoming more prominent with Disney+’s Loki and the massive box office performance of Spider-Man: No Way Home.
- Given Benedict Cumberbatch / Doctor Strange’s heavy involvement in No Way Home, the episodic nature of the MCU is once again set up to draw intense interest from many fans, casual and die hard alike, as to where the multiverse story is going in this sequel.
- Cumberbatch has proven to be a very popular addition to the franchise ever since his solo debut scored an $85.1 million domestic debut in late 2016, which was the second best origin film opening of the entire franchise at the time (trailing only Iron Man‘s $98.6 million in 2008). Since then, the actor and Doctor Stephen Strange have been at the epicenter of pivotal story developments for several of the biggest blockbusters in history (Avengers: Infinity War, Endgame, and No Way Home).
- The inclusion of Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch in a major role provides further cause for fan enthusiasm given the wildly popular reception of Disney+’s WandaVision last year. Since then, her character has emerged as a favorite for many fans and should help increase this sequel’s appeal to female audiences of all ages.
- With more than a handful of comic book blockbusters now having been widely successful during the pandemic recovery period, there’s little doubt that they remain as popular and appealing as ever before.
- Early tracking models for Multiverse of Madness are comparable to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and Captain Marvel leading up to its pre-Endgame release in early 2019, while out-performing all other comic book-related titles since then outside of No Way Home. The Brie Larson-led origin story stands as the MCU’s second highest box office opener ($153.4 million) behind only Black Panther ($202 million).
- Pre-sales are in very early days, but the first 24 hours of availability met bullish expectations with a frenzy of activity driving higher trends than The Batman during its same first day window earlier this year. Still, comparisons are volatile until momentum can be measured in the days and weeks ahead. It’s important to note that Marvel films often have quite different pre-sale trajectories and front-loading impact from those of DC films.
- Competition will be light as studios have braced for another monster Marvel performance. Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore will be entering its fourth weekend come Strange‘s release, while the next source of major competition won’t arrive until May 27 when Top Gun: Maverick drops for Memorial Day weekend. This should give Madness a three-week unchallenged run with premium screens and IMAX mostly to itself.
- With the return of director Sam Raimi, genre fans are enthusiastic about not just his return to the comic book realm following his highly influential Spider-Man movies in the 2000s, but also his penchant for horror as this is promised to be first the MCU film diving into that genre. With a script from the head writer of Loki, Michael Waldron, followers have plenty of confidence in the behind-the-screens talent developing this tentpole under the ever-reliable banner of and immense goodwill for Marvel and Kevin Feige..
- Despite Cumberbatch / Strange’s presence in three consecutive, all-time record-breaking Marvel movies, it’s still been over five-and-a-half years since his own solo film. Typically, franchises outside the comic book flavor would lose some momentum in that amount of time between sequels, but it seems quite unlikely in this case given prior reasoning and the measurable activity already seen.
- As mentioned, this is the MCU’s first venture into a horror vibe. Experimentation has typically gone Marvel and the audience’s way in the past, but it’s at least worth considering the potential for this to end up a slightly more mature film than other all-audience friendly MCU chapters. (For example, the adult-focused, dramatic elements of Captain America: Civil War ultimately played a big role in that blockbuster’s shorter box office legs than its Avengers counterparts.)
- While the secrecy behind story points is often a strength that builds mystery around this and other franchises, it also provides a wild variable for forecasts. In this film’s case, should there be or not be any earth-shattering cameos or plot developments hidden from primary marketing, either scenario has a great impact on opening and finishing gross potential.
Long Range Box Office Forecast & 2022 Calendar
(as of 4/7/22)
|Release Date||Title||3-Day (FSS) Opening Low/High Range||Pinpoint % Chg from Last Week||Domestic Total Low/High Range||Pinpoint % Chg from Last Week||Estimated Location Count||Distributor|
|4/13/2022||Father Stu||$3,000,000 – $7,000,000||-8%||$11,000,000 – $26,000,000||-8%||2,500||Sony Pictures / Columbia|
|4/15/2022||Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore||$48,000,000 – $58,000,000||+8%||$108,000,000 – $138,000,000||+5%||4,100||Warner Bros. Pictures|
|4/22/2022||The Bad Guys||$10,000,000 – $15,000,000||$40,000,000 – $60,000,000||Universal Pictures / DreamWorks Animation|
|4/22/2022||The Northman||$4,000,000 – $8,000,000||$10,000,000 – $20,000,000||Focus Features|
|4/22/2022||The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent||$8,000,000 – $13,000,000||$16,000,000 – $36,000,000||Lionsgate|
|4/29/2022||Memory||$2,000,000 – $5,000,000||$5,000,000 – $15,000,000||Briarcliff Entertainment / Open Road Films|
|5/6/2022||Around the World in 80 Days||100||Viva Kids|
|5/6/2022||Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness||$165,000,000 – $205,000,000||NEW||$400,000,000 – $535,000,000||NEW||Disney / Marvel Studios|
|5/20/2022||Downton Abbey: A New Era||Focus Features|
|5/27/2022||Bob’s Burgers||Disney / 20th Century Studios|
|5/27/2022||Top Gun Maverick||Paramount Pictures|
|6/3/2022||Eiffel||Blue Fox Entertainment|
|6/3/2022||Untitled WB Event Film 2022 2||Warner Bros. Pictures|
|6/10/2022||Jurassic World: Dominion||Universal Pictures|
|6/17/2022||Lightyear||Disney / Pixar|
|6/24/2022||The Black Phone||Universal Pictures|
|6/24/2022||Elvis||Warner Bros. Pictures|
|6/24/2022||Untitled Blumhouse Project||Universal Pictures|
|7/1/2022||Minions: The Rise of Gru||Universal Pictures|
|7/8/2022||Thor: Love and Thunder||Disney / Marvel Studios|
|7/15/2022||Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris||Focus Features|
|7/15/2022||Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank||Paramount Pictures|
|7/15/2022||Where the Crawdads Sing||Sony / 3000 Pictures|
|7/29/2022||Bullet Train||Sony Pictures|
|7/29/2022||DC League of Super-Pets||Warner Bros. Pictures|
|8/5/2022||Easter Sunday||Universal Pictures|
|8/5/2022||Secret Headquarters||Paramount Pictures|
|8/5/2022||Untitled WB Event Film 2022 3||Warner Bros. Pictures|
|8/12/2022||Untitled Searchlight||Disney / Searchlight|
|8/12/2022||Man from Toronto||Sony Pictures / Columbia|
|8/26/2022||The Bride||Sony Pictures / Columbia|
|8/26/2022||Fear||Hidden Empire Film Group (HEFG)|
|8/26/2022||Samaritan||United Artists Releasing|
|9/2/2022||Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul.||Focus Features|
|9/9/2022||Salem’s Lot||Warner Bros. / New Line|
|9/16/2022||Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.||Lionsgate|
|9/16/2022||The Woman King||Sony / TriStar Pictures|
|9/23/2022||Don’t Worry Darling||Warner Bros. Pictures|
|9/23/2022||Puss In Boots: The Last Wish||Universal Pictures / DreamWorks Animation|
|9/23/2022||Untitled 20th Century 2022 3||Disney / 20th Century Studios|
|10/7/2022||Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (Part One)||Sony Pictures|
|10/14/2022||Halloween Ends||Universal Pictures|
|10/14/2022||White Bird: A Wonder Story||Lionsgate|
|10/21/2022||The Banshees of Inisherin||Disney / Searchlight Pictures|
|10/21/2022||Black Adam||Warner Bros. Pictures|
|10/21/2022||Ticket to Paradise||Universal Pictures|
|10/21/2022||Untitled Paramount||Paramount Pictures|
|10/28/2022||The Devil’s Light||Lionsgate|
|11/4/2022||Untitled David O. Russell||Disney / 20th Century Studios|
|11/11/2022||Black Panther: Wakanda Forever||Disney / Marvel Studios|
|11/18/2022||Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile||Sony / Columbia Pictures|
|11/18/2022||Untitled WB Event Film 2022 4||Warner Bros. Pictures|
|11/18/2022||She Said||Universal Pictures|
|11/18/2022||Thirteen Lives||MGM / United Artists Releasing|
|11/23/2022||The Fabelmans||Universal Pictures|
|11/23/2022||Strange World||Walt Disney Pictures|
|12/2/2022||Violent Night||Universal Pictures|
|12/9/2022||(no releases scheduled)|
|12/16/2022||Shazam! Fury of the Gods||Warner Bros. Pictures|
|12/21/2022||Avatar 2||Disney / 20th Century Studios|
|12/21/2022||I Wanna Dance With Somebody||Sony Pictures / TriStar Pictures|
|12/23/2022||Untitled 20th Century 2022 6||Disney / 20th Century Studios|
|12/25/2022||A Man Called Otto||Sony Pictures / Columbia|
|12/30/2022||(no releases scheduled)|
All above figures represent best and worst case scenarios for how each respective film is currently tracking based on existing market conditions and projected model fluctuation before release. These are not final forecasts.
Pinpoint opening weekend and domestic total projections are available exclusively to Boxoffice PRO clients. For more information on forecasts, pricing, and availability, please contact us.