The next entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is only a few weeks away now, meaning that industry analysts are beginning to figure out how it will do at the box office. However, the initial projections for Doctor Strange may be a little surprising. While it wouldn't be expected to do Captain America: Civil War type numbers in November, initial estimates put the film at somewhere between $55 and $75 million, which would put it well below the last MCU to debut in the fall.
While most MCU movies have been summer movies, the franchise has just grown to the point that there isn't enough summer to house them all. Thor: The Dark World was previously released in November and that film saw an opening weekend of about $85 million, which would put it well above where Doctor Strange is currently tracking, even on the high side.
Even $75 million feels like a low number. At this point, the MCU has released movies like Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Age of Ultron which put up opening weekend number approaching $200 million. However, when you compare this projection to the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a whole, you realize that it's a perfectly respectable number. As Deadline points out, Ant-Man which was released in the heart of the summer movie season, opened with less than $60 million at the box office. While many wrote the film off, it went on to do a perfectly reasonable $180 million domestically, but, more importantly, the movie killed overseas.
What's more, the vast majority of the origin story movies within the MCU have opened slowly. A $75 million opening for Doctor Strange would out do the first movies for Captain America, The Incredible Hulk, and Thor, in addition to Ant-Man. It would appear that as popular as the MCU has become overall, new characters have to earn the love of the fan base one movie at a time. Nobody gets a free ride just for being attached to the greater story.
It also has to be said that Doctor Strange simply doesn't have the name recognition that many of the other Marvel heroes have. Comic book fans certainly know the character and the story, but he doesn't have the pop culture cache that you'd get with Spider-Man or Captain America. Nevermind the fact that the trailers for Doctor Strange don't make it look all that much like the rest of the Marvel movies look.
Will you be contributing to Doctor Strange's opening weekend at the box office, or waiting to see how the new character turns out first? Let us know in the comments below.