Doctor Strange 2 Just Broke Disney’s Pandemic Record (Box Office)

By David Thompson Updated:
Doctor Stranges Box Office

After almost six full years, Benedict Cumberbatch's Doctor Strange has gotten a proper sequel. The Master of Mystic Arts has appeared in Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame, and Spider-Man: No Way Home, in the meantime. As a part of the evergrowing Marvel Cinematic Universe, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is a direct sequel to not only Doctor Strange, but WandaVision and the Tom Holland-led threequel.

Elizabeth Olsen is back as Wanda Maximoff after the hit series WandaVision kicked off Marvel Studios' serial story-telling on Disney+. After 15 years since directing a comic book movie, Sam Raimi is back after previous director Scott Derrickson left due to creative differences.

Raimi, in part, was hired for his experience in not only the original Spider-Man trilogy, but his horror background. Multiverse of Madness promises to be a wild adventure that balances the line between action comedy and shocking horror.

The reviews are in and now the paying audiences have spoken.

Doctor Strange 2 Broke a Box-Office Record

Doctor Strange, Marvel Studios

Summer blockbuster season is back. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness has been released globally in theaters and is off to a historic start.

Benedict Cumberbatch's sequel has generated $185M at the domestic opening box office, the biggest opening of 2022. This is an incredible jump from 2016's Doctor Strange, grossing only $85M during its opening weekend. The $100M difference from the original to the sequel is the largest in MCU history. 

Director Sam Raimi's return to the big screen is now the MCU's seventh highest opening weekend ever. Here's the updated list of the top 10 MCU domestic openings:

  1. Avengers: Endgame - $357M   
  2. Spider-Man: No Way Home - $260M
  3. Avengers: Infinity War - 257.7M    
  4. The Avengers - $207M   
  5. Black Panther - $202M  
  6. Avengers: Age of Ultron - $191M
  7. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness - $185M
  8. Captain America: Civil War - $179M
  9. Iron Man 3 - $174M
  10. Captain Marvel - $153.4M

The Sorcerer's sequel has also earned $265M internationally, totaling $450M at the global box office. 

In 2021, Disney and Marvel released Black Widow, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, and Eternals. These generated lower-end opening numbers but were successful considering the pandemic.

It goes without saying that Multiverse of Madness is in a league of its own compared to Disney's (non-Sony) films of last year.

  1. Black Widow - $80.3M
  2. Shang-Chi - $75.3M ($90M over the 4-day Labor Day weekend)
  3. Eternals - $71.3M

Is Multiverse of Madness a Success?

The short answer is yes, of course. Multiverse of Madness has made almost half a billion dollars globally and has the 11th highest domestic opening in history.

However, expectations set a bar for success, and similar to the movie (depending on one's opinion), the bar was high and volatile at the box office. The Direct predicted a $205M domestic opening and as of last night, Deadline was reporting the possibility of a $197M opening. Cracking the elusive $200M mark seemed possible heading into the weekend, and the Doctor Strange sequel fell $15M short.

Besides slightly underperforming some projections, this is a huge win for Disney and Marvel. After a shaky 2021 bout, 2022 is shaping up to get them back to somewhere near they were before 2020. Thor: Love and Thunder and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is also as close as it gets to guaranteeing big money makers.

It's important to keep in mind, that Disney only got a quarter of the nearly $2 billion box office haul of the Spider-Man: No Way Home pie. Still delicious, but not as mouth-watering as your very own billion-dollar pie, which Multiverse of Madness may become once fully baked.

This performance is also a great reference point for the entirety of the 2022 box office. Audiences are headed back to the theaters, many after two years of being away. It's safe to say that No Way Home wasn't a one-time fluke.

The summer season is now upon us and Top Gun: Maverick, Jurassic World: Dominion, and Thor: Love and Thunder have a phenomenal outlook as MoM paves the way.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is now playing in theaters around the globe.

- About The Author: David Thompson
As an editor, writer, and podcast host, David is a key member of The Direct. He is an expert at covering topics like Marvel, DC, Star Wars, and business-related news following the box office and streaming.