The Avengers blockbusters have always proven to be the MCU's biggest box office record-breakers, but Spider-Man: No Way Home was recently able to set its own standard, even during the pandemic. With four months passed since the Spidey flick shattered the box office, the MCU is moving ever closer to its next Multiverse event: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
With Benedict Cumberbatch's Doctor Strange and Elizabeth Olsen's Scarlet Witch coming back, having shot to MCU stardom in recent years, Multiverse of Madness is leading its charge with two of the most popular Avengers.
Between Spider-Man: No Way Home, Multiverse of Madness, and The Flash, the Multiverse and the possibilities it brings are all the rage right now. Much like Spidey's latest adventure, the Doctor Strange sequel is to be packed with surprising twists and unexpected characters, meaning anticipation is once again through the roof.
So, with fan-favorite heroes, promises of surprises and cameos, and connections to Spider-Man: No Way Home, Loki, and WandaVision, how will Multiverse of Madness fare at the box office?
Will Doctor Strange 2's Box Office Enter the MCU's Top 5?
Box Office Pro has published its projections for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, but will the anticipation and cameo rumors be enough to shoot it into the top five highest-grossing MCU movies?
Current projects forecast Multiverse of Madness to see a three-day domestic opening weekend total of between $165 and $205 million. In the long run, the box office analyst predicts a domestic total gross of $400 to $535 million.
The opening forecast of $165m to $205m would place Multiverse of Madness between the fifth and ninth-highest domestic opening weekend in MCU history. The current top ten highest domestic openings in the MCU are as follows:
- Avengers: Endgame - $375M
- Spider-Man: No Way Home - $260M
- Avengers: Infinity War - $258M
- The Avengers - $207M
- Black Panther - $202M
- Avengers: Age of Ultron - $191M
- Captain America: Civil War - $179M
- Iron Man 3 - $174M
- Captain Marvel - $153M
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 - $147M
In terms of total domestic gross, the current forecast of $400 to $535m would place the Doctor Strange sequel between sixth and tenth place, falling just short of the top five. The ten MCU movies with the current highest domestic box office gross are:
- Avengers: Endgame - $858M
- Spider-Man: No Way Home - $803M
- Black Panther - $700M
- Avengers: Infinity War - $679M
- The Avengers - $623M
- Avengers: Age of Ultron - $459M
- Captain Marvel - $427M
- Iron Man 3 - $409M
- Captain America: Civil War - $408M
- Spider-Man: Far From Home - $391M
Can Doctor Strange 2 Live Up to No Way Home?
Doctor Strange's solo debut currently places 18th in the MCU's highest-grossing films domestically. But Strange is no longer the unknown entity he was at the time of his first outing, which was largely carried by the Marvel name and Benedict Cumberbatch's stardom.
Since Cumberbatch's sorcerer made his first appearance, he has played a starring role in three record-breaking blockbusters - Avengers: Infinity War, Endgame, and Spider-Man: No Way Home - leading to a great rise in popularity. In the year since WandaVision, Elizabeth Olsen's Scarlet Witch has similarly become among the most beloved and talked about heroes in the MCU, meaning her return will prove hugely beneficial.
The Avengers-level event nature of Multiverse of Madness also ought to push the sequel's box office even higher, much like it did for Captain America: Civil War.
Just like No Way Home, Multiverse of Madness is shrouded with mystery as to which characters will show up and even the plot of the movie. That's not to say it stands a chance of living up to the Spider-Man threequel which brought together three generations of audiences, but the Multiverse is all the rage with fans right now.
Doctor Strange 2 will also be the MCU's first theatrical since No Way Home, and the first project overall for the many moviegoers who don't follow the Disney+ series. With the sequel set to follow on from the Spider-Man blockbuster and the hugely popular WandaVision, it will benefit from bringing together those who caught either of those.
Another major factor in box office success comes in how much competition it will face; fortunately for Multiverse of Madness, the opposition is minimal. Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore will be in its fourth weekend by then, and no further major releases will come until May 27 with Top Gun: Maverick, by which point Doctor Strange 2 will be entering its own fourth weekend and be past its peak.
With four weeks to go until release, forecasts indicate Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness may well fall short of the MCU's top five openings or domestic totals. Although it's important to note that the box office predictions are just that, predictions. No Way Home greatly outperformed what it was projected to earn, and it's entirely possible Multiverse of Madness will do the same.
Out of the first Doctor Strange's $676m worldwide box office total, only $233m was earned domestically, meaning roughly $444m came from outside the U.S. Similarly, the MCU's biggest events like the Avengers blockbusters have a tendency to accrue a significant portion of its box office internationally. So, box office enthusiasts will have to wait for worldwide forecasts to get a better idea of just how high Multiverse of Madness will fall in the MCU's box office rankings.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness hits theaters on May 6.