The Marvel Cinematic Universe is in a bit of a transitional period. As we start diving deeper into Phase Three, we'll be introduced to a ton of new characters, in addition to old standards like Thor and Captain America. As certain actors' contracts come to a close, we will see which heroes remain at the forefront of the MCU, and which are slowly faded away. While some may have been worried that audiences won't want to explore new origin stories, it's now clear that the fanbase is willing to come in droves as the MCU expands. Case in point: Doctor Strange, which has now surpassed Iron Man at the box office.
Doctor Strange has now crossed $616 million globally, making it the most successful single-character movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Per Deadline, Iron Man had previously been holding onto that title, as it ended up making $585 million back in 2008. While movies like Guardians of the Galaxy made even more money, installments with more superheroes tend to do better than movies that focus on one character at a time.
While Doctor Strange's visual, critical, and box office performance have all been bonafide successes, the movie actually had some fairly high stakes for the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a whole. Doctor Strange is a much lesser known superhero, and all of the trailers made it clear that the film adaptation would be like nothing we'd seen before. Yet tons of people shelled out cash at theaters to see the experience for themselves, and welcome Benedict Cumberbatch into the fold. Now Marvel knows that it has feet to stand on regarding new characters, and that the brand will only continue to grow.
Stephen Strange's origin story is not the only new hero that will be getting a movie in Phase Three. Indeed, Phase Three alternates between new titles and sequels, with the next two new franchises being Spider-Man: Homecoming and Black Panther. Of course, both of those characters were introduced in Captain America: Civil War, so they have an audience that is already invested in their stories. Still, these two movies will bring completely new perspectives to the MCU, as Doctor Strange did with the inclusion of magic. Spider-Man: Homecoming will show us how average New Yorkers are living in a world full of superheroes, and will also give voice to young characters and more characters of color. Black Panther will take us global, as we see T'Challa's rule the fictional country of Wakanda, while also performing vigilante crime fighting and protecting the country's natural resource: Vibranium.
It should be interesting to see how the next few installments fare at the box office. Will these new characters take the place of franchise favorites? Stick here with CinemaBlend for updates on all things Marvel.
Doctor Strange is in theaters now.
Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his famous actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.
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