Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness Has A Magical Opening Weekend, Setting New Records For 2022

Doctor Strange and Wong in Doctor Strange In The Multiverse of Madness
(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

There is presently no more powerful force in Hollywood right now than the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Since 2008, the franchise has not only managed to repeatedly produce films that audiences love individually, but the success of each one seems to perpetuate the success of the next, as everyone wants to be up to date with the latest goings-on in the canon. The result of this has been that nearly every sequel produced by Marvel does better than its predecessor – and Sam Raimi's Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness is the latest big win in this regard, having just had a magical opening weekend.

Check out the full Top 10 below, and join me after for analysis!

CinemaBlend Weekend Box Office Doctor Strange In The Multiverse of Madness May 6-8, 2022

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)
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1. Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness*$185,000,000 $185,000,000 Row 0 - Cell 3 4,534
2. The Bad Guys$9,770,000 $57,572,485 13,839
3. Sonic The Hedgehog 2$7,100,000 $170,801,471 23,358
4. Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore$3,950,000 $86,009,171 33,051
5. Everything Everywhere All At Once$3,323,297 $41,565,896 51,542
6. The Northman$2,770,000 $28,048,585 42,413
7. The Lost City$2,500,000 $94,389,264 71,897
8. The Unbearable Weight Of Massive Talent$1,525,000 $16,388,403 63,036
9. Memory$1,220,000 $5,492,665 52,433
10. Father Stu$800,000 $19,235,742 91,265

Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness More Than Doubles The Opening Weekend Numbers Of The First Doctor Strange

When Scott Derrickson's Doctor Strange debuted in 2016, it was definitely considered a success, making $85.1 million in its opening weekend before going on to make $232.6 million domestically and $676.4 million internationally. Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness is clearly going to utterly destroy those numbers in the long run – which is something you can do when a sequel earns twice as much money as its predecessor in its three-day debut. 

To provide some Marvel context, $185 million is the seventh biggest opening weekend ever for a Marvel Cinematic Universe title (just about $6 million short of what Joss Whedon's Avengers: Age Of Ultron earned back in 2015. With the exception of Ryan Coogler's Black Panther, which made $200 million in its first Friday-to-Sunday, Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness had the biggest debut for any MCU title without either "Avengers" or "Spider-Man" in the title.

So what allowed Doctor Strange 2 to be so successful beyond the perpetuating popularity of films from Marvel Studios? Like when Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett's Scream had a great opening weekend back in January, I have to wonder if the big "Spoiler Factor" had some kind of influence. There has been constant chatter since the start of the film's development that it would contain major surprises for Marvel fans (which the blockbuster most definitely delivers with some stellar cameos), and the desire to see those surprises on the big screen instead of on social media may very well have been a draw to see the movie as quickly as possible.

Doctor Strange in Doctor Strange in the multiverse of madness

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

It also feels very possible that the popularity of Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness is an extension of the titular character getting a "bump" from his appearances in three of the all time highest grossing Marvel Studios movies. Benedict Cumberbatch's Master of the Mystic Arts appeared in Joe and Anthony Russo' Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame as well as Jon Watts' Spider-Man: No Way Home prior to his own solo movie sequel, and investment in the hero's journey going forward may have been boosted as a result.

Also not to be ignored is the presence of Elizabeth Olsen's Wanda Maximoff a.k.a. Scarlet Witch in the blockbuster. At the start of 2021, an impressive followship for the character was developed thanks to the popularity and critical success of the Disney+ original series WandaVision, and Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness has been teased from the beginning as a continuation of Wanda's story in the aftermath of that show. It's not precisely hard to imagine that anyone who fell hard for Scarlet Witch in that show would immediately rush to see Doctor Strange 2 in theaters.

Whatever the reasons for its popularity may be, Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness can be called the biggest instant hit of 2022 thus far. Prior to the arrival of the new Marvel feature, Matt Reeves' The Batman had set the high water mark for opening weekends since January, the film having made $134 million when it hit theaters in the early days of March. It's a bit bizarre to think that we live in a world where a new Doctor Strange movie would outgross a blockbuster starring the Caped Crusader... but let's also not forget that this is the same world where, in 2018, Taika Waititi's Thor: Ragnarok outgrossed Zack Snyder's Justice League.

The Bad Guys Holds On Strong As It Crosses $50 Million Domestically

Because of the arrival of Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness, there was never any doubt that Pierre Perifel's The Bad Guys would be bumped out of first place on the domestic box office chart – but what should be commended is that the DreamWorks Animation feature still managed to put up some impressive numbers, and only dropped 40 percent compared to its second weekend in theaters.

After the movie made $24 million in its debut, and then $16.1 million last weekend, The Bad Guys has managed to make an additional $9.8 million in the last three days, bringing its domestic total up to $57.6 million. This means it is just about ready to push past Jeff Tremaine's Jackass Forever and enter the list of the Top 10 highest grossing movies domestically in 2022. Having made $90.6 million worldwide to date, it is currently ranked twelfth on the international chart.

Everything Everywhere All At Once Is Poised To Become A24's Fourth Biggest Movie Ever Worldwide

Bringing us back to the subject of the multiverse, Daniels' Everything Everywhere All At Once continues to be one of the film's industry's most wonderful and fantastic success stories. In its seventh week of release, the movie has successfully held on to fifth place domestically, dropping only 40 percent and adding an additional $3.3 million to its grosses. To date, the indie sci-fi/comedy/action feature has made $46.6 million to date globally, which means that it only needs to make a few $100,000 more to surpass Ari Aster's Midsommar in the box office rankings of all the movies put out by A24. 

It looks unlikely that the film will ultimately able to make more than Barry Jenkins' Moonlight, Greta Gerwig's Lady Bird, or Ari Aster's Hereditary, all of which made over $65 million worldwide, but it's still unequivocally one of the best and most exciting box office stories of 2022.

With studios wanting to steer clear of the freight train that is Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness, next weekend won't see the Marvel Studios film facing an overwhelming amount of new competition – but audiences will see the theatrical arrival of Keith Thomas' Firestarter, based on the beloved novel by Stephen King. Be sure to head back here to CinemaBlend next Sunday to see how things shake out at the box office, and head over to our 2022 Movie Release Calendar to learn about all of the features coming out between now and the end of December.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

NJ native who calls LA home and lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran who is endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.