Weekend Box Office: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness Takes $61M Sophomore Frame

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

Follow-Up Visit

Disney and Marvel Studios’ superhero sequel Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness easily maintained first place but with a sharp -67% decline to $61.0M. A few stats and comparison to put that drop in context:

  • Last frame, it earned the #11-biggest domestic opening of all time with $187.4M. This frame, it falls to the #32-largest second weekend of all time.
  • Among the only 10 films with larger opening weekends, Multiverse tied for the steepest percentage drop in its second frame, along with Spider-Man: No Way Home and Star Wars: The Last Jedi, both of which also fell -67%. (Home’s second frame fell during arguably the worst week of Covid-19’s Omicron variant, though)
  • Compared to its predecessor, Multiverse fell noticeably more than 2016’s original Doctor Strange (-49%).
  • Compared to the other most recent superhero film, it also fell much steeper than Warner Bros.’ DC Comics adaptation The Batman (-50%).
  • Among other pandemic-era Marvel releases, Multiverse fell steeper than Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (-54%) and Eternals (-62%), the same level as  Spider-Man: No Way Home (-67%), and only one percentage point less than Black Widow (-68%). Widow was released day-and-date, simultaneously in theaters and Disney+, with such films generally experiencing steeper box office drops.

‘Doctor’ Globally

Multiverse has now earned $396M overseas and $292M domestic, for a $688M global total.

That beats the $678M global haul of 2016’s original Doctor Strange, and stands as the #5 MPA-rated (i.e. non-Chinese) film of the pandemic era.

Top overseas markets to date include South Korea ($41.4M), the U.K. ($36.9M), Mexico ($31.1M), Brazil ($25.1M), Australia ($19.4M), India ($17.7M), and France ($17.5M).

Multiverse has not yet opened in China, and no such release date in the world’s biggest film market has been announced. None of the other four Marvel titles from the past year were granted a Chinese release.

We Didn’t Start the Fire

Universal’s horror remake and Stephen King novel adaptation Firestarter failed to spark with a fourth place bow of $3.8M, on the low end of the already low pre-release projections.

The new film earned an unusually low C- CinemaScore, with an exact 50/50 male/female audience. The audience was also only 41%, over-indexing among the Hispanic (24%) and black (20%) populations.

This now marks Universal’s fourth experiment releasing a film day-and-date, with simultaneous releases in theaters and on Peacock. All four titles have underwhelmed at the box office.

  • February’s Marry Me earned $22.4M, lower than all four main romantic comedies in the pre-pandemic year of 2019: What Men Want ($54.6M), Isn’t It Romantic ($48.7M), Last Christmas ($35.1M), and Long Shot ($30.3M).
  • July 2021’s The Boss Baby: Family Business earned $57.3M, or -67% behind 2017’s original The Boss Baby ($175.0M).
  • October 2021’s Halloween Kills made $92.0M, or -42% behind 2018’s Halloween ($159.3M).

Elsewhere at the Box Office

After leading in both of its first two frames, Universal’s animated The Bad Guys has captured second place in both of its next two frames. This weekend, it declines -28% to $6.9M.

It’s now earned $66.2M domestically; compared to the last four wide-release animated films through the equivalent point in release, that’s:

  • +36% above October’s The Addams Family 2 ($48.4M), which was released day-and-date simultaneously on PVOD (Premium Video on Demand).
  • +31% above July’s The Boss Baby: Family Business ($50.2M), which was released day-and-date simultaneously on Peacock.
  • -18% behind November’s Encanto ($81.4M).
  • -44% behind December’s Sing 2 ($119.0M).

Paramount’s family action-comedy Sonic the Hedgehog 2 drops -24% to $4.5M and third place. It’s now earned $175.7M domestically, or +20% more than 2020’s original Sonic the Hedgehog final total ($146.0M).

Read Boxoffice PRO’s interview with Sonic the Hedgehog 2 director Jeff Fowler here.

A24’s sci-fi comedy Everything Everywhere All at Once declines only -6% to $3.3M in fifth place. The film has now earned $47.1M, ranking as the #3 film in the history of indie distributor A24, behind only 2019’s Uncut Gems ($50.0M) and 2017’s Lady Bird ($48.9M).

‘Downton’ Overseas

Ahead of its domestic debut next Friday, May 18, Focus Features’ sequel Downton Abbey: A New Era has earned $29.7M in 46 overseas markets.

Little surprise that’s led by the U.K. where the film takes place ($12.9M), followed by Australia ($3.9M), France ($2.4M), and Germany ($2.0M).

For comparison, both the U.K. and overall overseas number appear poised to significantly trail 2019’s original Downton Abbey ($36.5M in the U.K. and $97.8M overseas).

The sequel will be released in China on May 20, though 2019’s original Downton Abbey only made $3.2M there.

Weekend comparisons

Total box office this weekend came in around $88.7M, which is:

  • -60% behind last weekend’s total ($222.2M), when Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness led with $187.4M.
  • 3.7x the equivalent weekend in 2021($23.5M), as the box office was taking its first pandemic-era steps back to normalcy and Wrath of Man led with $8.3M.
  • -47% ahead of the equivalent weekend in the last pre-pandemic year 2019 ($168.2M), when Avengers: Endgame led for a third frame with $63.2M and Pokemon: Detective Pikachu opened with $54.3M.

YTD comparisons

Year-to-date box office stands around $2.28B. That’s:

  • 4.6x this same point in the pandemic recovery year of 2021 ($496.5M).
  • -42% behind this same point in 2019, the last pre-pandemic year ($3.94B).

Top distributors

As has been the case all year so far, the leading distributor in the domestic market remains Sony Pictures. The top five are:

  • Sony Pictures ($483.0M)
  • Warner Bros. ($470.3M) 
  • Paramount ($414.6M)
  • Disney ($298.5M)
  • Universal ($224.6M)

Note that Disney’s number excludes releases from subsidiary 20th Century Studios. Still, Disney seems poised to take the crown at some point this summer or possibly fall, with titles including Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Lightyear, and Thor: Love and Thunder.

Sunday’s Studio Weekend Estimates: March 13-15, 2022

Title  Estimated weekend  % change Locations Location change Average  Total  Weekend Distributor
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness $61,003,000 -67% 4,534   $13,455 $291,862,523 2 Walt Disney
The Bad Guys $6,900,000 -28% 3,788 -51 $1,822 $66,284,110 4 Universal
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 $4,550,000 -24% 3,116 -242 $1,460 $175,699,375 6 Paramount
Firestarter $3,820,000   3,412   $1,120 $3,820,000 1 Universal
Everything Everywhere All At Once $3,302,720 -6% 1,726 184 $1,914 $47,103,580 8 A24
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore $2,420,000 -43% 2,578 -473 $939 $90,045,688 5 Warner Bros.
The Lost City $1,730,000 -37% 1,675 -222 $1,033 $97,149,828 8 Paramount
The Northman $1,700,000 -41% 1,934 -479 $879 $31,157,855 4 Focus Features
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent $1,050,000 -34% 1,076 -255 $976 $18,217,570 4 Lionsgate
Uncharted $550,000 500% 1,253 1,087 $439 $147,192,769 13 Sony Pictures
Memory $440,000 -68% 785 -1,648 $561 $6,724,481 3 Open Road
Father Stu $410,000 -53% 936 -329 $438 $20,028,142 5 Sony Pictures
Morbius $315,000 -50% 313 -411 $1,006 $73,015,837 7 Sony Pictures
Ambulance $260,000 -5% 279 -145 $932 $22,058,590 6 Universal
Petite maman $105,200 -49% 222 -2 $474 $574,924 4 Neon
Y Como Es El $74,350 n/c 72   $1,033 $74,350 4 Pantelion Films
Happening $59,000 77% 186 182 $317 $100,305 2 IFC Films
Montana Story $20,104   4   $5,026 $20,104 1 Bleecker Street
Pleasure $17,274   2   $8,637 $17,274 1 Neon
The Innocents $12,500   32   $391 $12,500 1 IFC Films
Mau $7,500   2   $3,750 $7,500 1 Greenwich
The Automat $6,246 30% 5 -1 $1,249 $213,074 13 A Slice of Pie Productions
Lux Aeterna $5,600 -37% 5 4 $1,120 $17,400 2 Yellow Veil Pictures
Photo Credits: Disney & Marvel Studios ("Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness"); Universal ("Firestarter")
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