Weekend Box Office: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness Conjures $450M Global Debut

Xochitl Gomez as America Chavez, Benedict Wong as Wong, and Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange/Stephen Strange in Marvel Studios' DOCTOR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS. Photo by Jay Maidment. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.

Disney and Marvel Studios’ superhero sequel Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness earned an impressive $185 million domestic and $450 million global debut this weekend.

That domestic opening is:

  • 11th place all-time, behind 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron ($191.2M) and 2018’s Incredibles 2 ($182.6M).
  • 2.1x the opening of 2016’s original Doctor Strange ($85.0M), and only -20% behind that installment’s $232.6M domestic total. The sequel appears likely to exceed its predecessor’s total by its second weekend of release, if not before.
  • -28% behind both of the last two films advertising Doctor Strange’s appearance, although those comparisons are both a bit unfair since those also rank as the #2 and #3 biggest opening weekends of all time: December’s Spider-Man: No Way Home ($260.1M) and 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War ($257.6M).
  • The 7th-biggest Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) opening, behind 2019’s Avengers: Endgame ($357.1M), the aforementioned No Way Home and Infinity War, 2012’s The Avengers ($207.4M), 2018’s Black Panther ($202.0M), and the aforementioned Age of Ultron.
  • +38% above the opening of March’s The Batman ($134.0M), the most recent superhero release, and the #36-biggest opening weekend of all time.

Premium formats accounted for 36% of domestic box office, with 3D specifically coming in at 9%. The new 3D trailer for the upcoming December’s Avatar: The Way of Water debuted with theatrical exclusivity before Multiverse, since the trailer is not yet officially online.

The estimated domestic audience demographics were 62% male and 16% under age 18. That’s comparable to other recent Marvel titles:

  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings = 61% male and 17% under age 18.
  • Eternals = 61% male and 18% under age 18.
  • Black Widow = 58% male and 23% under age 18. 

The film began with the 8th-widest domestic release of all time with 4,534 theaters. That’s behind only:

  • 2019’s The Lion King (4,802)
  • Avengers: Endgame (4,662)
  • Spider-Man: Far from Home (4,634)
  • Toy Story 4 (4,575)
  • It Chapter Two (4,570)
  • The Secret Life of Pets 2 (4,564)
  • Despicable Me 3 (4,535)

Multiverse’s per-screen average of $40,802 ranks #15 all-time among wide releases, behind:

  • Avengers: Endgame ($76,601)
  • Spider-Man: No Way Home ($59,995)
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($59,982)
  • Avengers: Infinity War ($57,599)
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi ($51,987)
  • Black Panther ($50,249)
  • Jurassic World ($48,855)
  • The Avengers ($47,698)
  • Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert ($45,560)
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron ($44,731)
  • Captain America: Civil War ($42,389)
  • 2017’s Beauty and the Beast ($41,508)
  • Incredibles 2 ($41,425)
  • Iron Man 3 ($40,946)

Overseas Stats

Multiverse of Madness kicked off its international run with $265M overseas in 49 material markets, for a $450M global bow.

The $450 million global haul is the second-highest pandemic-era debut for a Hollywood title and the highest for a 2022 release. Performance in like-for-like markets place the Doctor Strange sequel in fourth place among the highest MCU openers of all time, behind Avengers: Endgame, Avengers: Infinity War, and Spider-Man: No Way Home.

Disney’s estimates in like-for-like markets at current exchange rates track Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness at 17% behind Spider-Man: No Way Home, 126% ahead of The Batman, and 160% above the original Doctor Strange

Premium formats made up over a third of the global opening weekend. 3D screenings claimed 25% of the box office in Latin America, with nearly half of Brazilian audiences opting to see the film in the digital 3D format. Asia Pacific brought in 11% of the opening weekend in 3D. In Europe, premium screens (including 3D and IMAX) were major players in leading markets like Germany (50%), France (24%), and the UK (17%). The film set a new IMAX record for the month of May with a $33 million global opening weekend from 350 screens around the world. 

Spider-Man: No Way Home is a useful comparable title to assess the overseas performance of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The top three international markets for the Spider-Man sequel—the United Kingdom, Mexico, and South Korea—also rank as the top three overseas openings for Multiverse of Madness. South Korea is leading the charge with a $30 million debut, twice the amount of Spider-Man: No Way Home’s opening frame. The UK isn’t far behind with a $24.7 million debut (41% behind No Way Home), followed by Mexico’s $21.5 million bow (11% behind No Way Home).

Other top markets for the film include Brazil ($16.3M), India ($12.7M), Australia ($12.6M), Germany ($12M), France ($11M), Japan ($9.4M), Italy ($9M), Indonesia ($7.8M), and Malaysia ($6.2M). It also marks the highest opening weekend of the pandemic era in Chile, Malaysia, Philippines, Romania, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, and Trinidad. 

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness has yet to open or announce release dates in China and Russia.

Elsewhere at the Box Office

The leader in both of the past two frames, Universal’s animated The Bad Guys declined -39% to $9.7M and second place. It’s now earned $57.5M domestically; compared to other recent animated films through the same point in release, that’s:

  • +36% above October’s The Addams Family 2 ($42.1M), which was released day-and-date simultaneously on PVOD (Premium Video on Demand).
  • +28% above July’s The Boss Baby: Family Business ($44.6M), which was released day-and-date simultaneously on Peacock.
  • -10% behind November’s Encanto ($64.1M).
  • -42% behind December’s Sing 2 ($99.7M).

Paramount’s family action-comedy Sonic the Hedgehog 2 drops -46% to $6.2M and third place. It’s now earned $169.9M domestically, or +16% more than 2020’s original Sonic the Hedgehog through the equivalent point in release ($145.7M).

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

Warner Bros.’ fantasy spinoff sequel Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore falls -52% to $3.9M and fourth place. It’s now earned $86.0M, which is -56% below 2016’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them ($198.9M) and -40% below 2018’s Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald ($145.3M) through the equivalent points in release.

A24’s sci-fi comedy Everything Everywhere All at Once declines -40% to $3.3M and fifth place. The film has now earned $41.5M, making it the fourth-highest earning film in the history of the indie distributor A24, behind only 2019’s Uncut Gems ($50.0M), 2017’s Lady Bird ($48.9M), and 2018’s Hereditary ($44.0M).

Weekend comparisons

Total box office this weekend came in around $219.2M, which is:

  • 3.2x last weekend’s total ($66.6M), when The Bad Guys led for a second consecutive frame with $16.2M.
  • 9.0x the equivalent weekend in 2021 ($24,337,496), as the box office was taking its first pandemic-era steps back to normalcy and Demon Slayer the Movie: Mugen Train led with $6.4M.
  • +9% ahead of the equivalent weekend in the last pre-pandemic year 2019 ($199.8M), when Avengers: Endgame led for a second frame with $147.3M.

YTD comparisons

Year-to-date box office stands around $2.12B. That’s:

  • 4.5x this same point in the pandemic recovery year of 2021 ($463.9M).
  • -42% behind this same point in 2019, the last pre-pandemic year ($3.72B).

Top distributors

As has been the case all year so far, the leading distributor in the domestic market remains Sony Pictures with $482.0M. Warner Bros. ranks a close second with $466.1M. 

Paramount currently claims third with $406.1M, Universal claims fourth with $211.7M, and Disney takes fifth with $191.6M. (Note that this Disney number is excluding releases from subsidiary 20th Century Studios.)

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: May 6-8, 2022

Title  Estimated weekend  % change Locations Location change Average  Total  Weekend Distributor
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness $185,000,000   4,534   $40,803 $185,000,000 1 Disney
The Bad Guys $9,770,000 -40% 3,839 -203 $2,545 $57,572,485 3 Universal
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 $7,100,000 -38% 3,358 -443 $2,114 $170,801,471 5 Paramount
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore $3,950,000 -52% 3,051 -911 $1,295 $86,009,171 4 Warner Bros.
Everything Everywhere All At Once $3,323,297 -40% 1,542 -671 $2,155 $41,565,896 7 A24
The Northman $2,770,000 -56% 2,413 -871 $1,148 $28,048,585 3 Focus Features
The Lost City $2,500,000 -35% 1,897 -698 $1,318 $94,389,264 7 Paramount
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent $1,525,000 -61% 3,036 n/c $502 $16,388,403 3 Lionsgate
Memory $1,220,000 -61% 2,433 -122 $501 $5,492,665 2 Open Road
Father Stu $800,000 -64% 1,265 -1,211 $632 $19,235,742 4 Sony Pictures
Morbius $625,000 -59% 1,726 n/c $362 $72,557,763 6 Sony Pictures
Ambulance $235,000 -80% 424 -1,013 $554 $21,651,920 5 Universal
Petite maman $186,000 214% 224 193 $830 $342,301 3 Neon
Uncharted $90,000 -72% 428 n/c $210 $146,614,202 12 Sony Pictures
Y Como Es El $59,139 -80% 72 -253 $821 $1,247,696 3 Pantelion Films
Happening $34,000   4   $8,500 $34,000 1 IFC Films
Vortex $31,212 86% 39 38 $800 $52,664 2 Utopia
The Automat $5,500 -50% 6 -6 $917 $202,667 12 A Slice of Pie Productions
We’re All Going to the World’s Fair $3,201 -76% 9 -17 $356 $88,733 4 Utopia
Xochitl Gomez as America Chavez, Benedict Wong as Wong, and Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange/Stephen Strange in Marvel Studios' DOCTOR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS. Photo by Jay Maidment. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.