Last night Doctor Strange, the 14th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, finally hit theaters and -- if the current numbers are anything to go by -- it proves once and for all that Marvel can make a movie about anything and it will make millions of dollars. Projected to open number one this busy weekend, Doctor Strange raked in a strong $9.4 million dollars in the face of some pretty decent competition.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Doctor Strange is projected to open in the $65 to $70 million range for its U.S. debut. The superhero blockbuster already opened in international markets, currently sitting at $132.9 million. However, the film is just opening in China today, so expect that number to shoot up by tomorrow morning.
The Benedict Cumberbatch-led film opened up against two potential heavy hitters in the form of DreamWorks Animation's Trolls and the Mel Gibson directed Hacksaw Ridge. One a family friendly animated movie on the cusp of the holiday season, the other a gritty war drama with Oscar buzz, either one of these could put up a serious fight- but it looks like Marvel will take the belt for the weekend. Trolls brought in $900,000 last night and is expected to earn around $40 million for the weekend. Meanwhile, Hacksaw Ridge opened to $750,000 and is tracking to a weekend gross of a more modest $12 million.
Compared to the rest of the MCU, Doctor Strange seems poised for a comfortable position in the middle in terms of opening numbers. The magical film stands in seventh place of MCU opening nights, right behind Captain America: The Winter Soldier's $10.3 million. As far as weekend totals are concerned, Doctor Strange is expected to exceed the numbers of the last solo film, Ant-Man ($57.23 million). If the weekend goes well, then the good doctor could also surpass fellow openers Captain America: The First Avenger and Thor with $66 million. This makes Doctor Strange's preview night the second highest of all non-sequel solo movies, only behind Guardians of the Galaxy.
All in all, these are pretty good scores for Marvel Studios. Doctor Strange isn't an established property, and typically the first solo film serves as an introduction to bring audiences back for the more lucrative sequel. Currently, the movie is set to gross slightly higher than most introductory movies from Phase 1, and I'm especially curious to know how many ticket sales were from IMAX 3D (which is stellar btw). While the movie doesn't reinvent the wheel in any way, it offers a dazzling visual spectacle, as well setting up a solid lead character in Stephan Strange.
Plus, magic is really really cool.
Directed by Scott Derrickson and starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Doctor Strange is out in theaters right now. But judging by the numbers, you've probably already seen it.