Long Range Box Office Forecast: Marvel Studios’ Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness Tracking to Cast a Stellar Summer Start

Photo Credits: Disney & Marvel Studios ("Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness")

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

PROS:

  • 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..

CONS:

  • 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
5/13/2022 Firestarter           Universal Pictures
5/20/2022 Downton Abbey: A New Era           Focus Features
5/20/2022 Men           A24
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
6/3/2022 Watcher           IFC Films
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 Bed Rest           STXfilms
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
7/22/2022 Nope           Universal Pictures
7/29/2022 Bullet Train           Sony Pictures
7/29/2022 DC League of Super-Pets           Warner Bros. Pictures
7/29/2022 Venegance           Focus Features
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
8/19/2022 Beast           Universal Pictures
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 Distant           Universal Pictures
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
9/30/2022 Bros           Universal Pictures
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 Creed III           MGM
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
12/21/2022 Mario           Universal 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.

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