Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is the latest mind-bending film in Phase 4 of the MCU. It was officially released in theaters on May 6 and followed Benedict Cumberbatch's Stephen Strange and Xochitl Gomez's America Chavez as they traveled through different universes in an attempt to evade Elizabeth Olsen's Scarlet Witch. The film had an incredible $185 million opening at the box office before suffering one of the worst drops in the franchise's history the week later.
Since Phase 4 started, Marvel Studios and Disney have been releasing MCU films on Disney+ after they have had an exclusive theater run. For example, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings was only available in theaters when it initially came out, and then at a later date, subscribers could go on Disney+ and watch the movie for no additional charge.
Even though the sequel hasn't been in theaters for a long period, its release date on Disney+ has already been confirmed, and it is a lot sooner than most fans may have anticipated.
Doctor Strange 2's Disney Plus Release Date Announced
The official Disney+ Twitter account posted a video of the cast of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness celebrating the film. In the video, Elizabeth Olsen, who portrays the Scarlet Witch in the MCU, revealed that the sequel will be available to stream on June 22 on Disney+. June 22 is already a popular date on Disney+, as it will feature the season finale of the Star Wars series, Obi-Wan Kenobi, as well as Episode 3 of Ms. Marvel.
This will mean that the movie will have a 47-day exclusive theatrical run, breaking the MCU record previously held by Eternals (68 days) for the shortest gap in time between a Marvel Studios movie's theatrical debut date and its streaming premiere. For comparison, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings premiered on the big screen in the United States on September 3, 2021, and then was released on Disney+ on November 12, 2021, making the gap between the two dates exactly 70 days.
Black Widow, the first film in the MCU's Phase 4, was in a different situation due to COVID-19. It debuted in theaters on July 9, 2021, but was also available to stream on the same day with the platform's Premier Access feature, which cost $30 and made the film available for 24 hours after purchase. Premier Access was taken off and the movie was available to stream for free on October 6, 2021, which was 90 days after its initial release.
Spider-Man: No Way Home was released in US theaters on December 17, 2021, but it is not available on Disney+ due to Sony owning the official rights to the character instead of Disney.
It is also worth noting The Batman's theater-to-streaming gap, which was 45 days. It hit the big screen on March 4, 2022, and then was added to HBO Max on April 18.
The full video can be seen below:
Why Doctor Strange 2 is Coming to Disney+ So Quickly
There are a few reasons why Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will only have a 47-day exclusive run in theaters. Disney is continuing to prioritize its streaming business, viewing Disney+ as the cornerstone for the future of its entertainment media business. Supplying Disney+ with blockbuster content like Multiverse of Madness while it's still semi-fresh in the pop culture conversation helps retain subscribers who may be questioning the value of their subscription.
This early streaming debut decision may have been influenced by Thor: Love and Thunder, which will be released on July 8; Disney wants to draw as much attention to that film as possible. The die-hard MCU fanbase is going to see every upcoming movie on opening weekend no matter what, but it is the casual audience that this applies more to.
The other possibility has to do with the box office. The first week that a movie is in theaters is when it is going to make the most money. If Doctor Strange 2 is still only available in theaters, then casual fans that still haven't seen the movie may be more inclined to go watch it before Love and Thunder.
For example, if a family were to go out for a movie night at the theater to see Multiverse of Madness and Love and Thunder was premiering the next week, they may not want to go back and see another movie that soon. That would lower the potential box office numbers for the first couple of weeks when Thor 4 is out.
For a variety of factors, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will soon be available to Disney+ subscribers. As of right now, the movie is still playing exclusively in theaters.