Doctor Strange 2 is highest grossing film of the year with $185m opening

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness has cast a spell on the US box office, dominating with $185 million in ticket sales.

Opening last Friday, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness has debuted to massive fanfare, becoming the 10th best American domestic opening. Ever.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, only one MCU film had a better opening weekend; Spider-Man: No Way Home. Spidey set a high bar, his third film opened to $260 million domestic. That put it behind only Avengers: Endgame, making it the second-highest opening in the history of US cinema.

Spider-Man and Doctor Strange
Spider-Man: No Way Home / Credit: Marvel Studios

This means Doctor Strange has beat out Shang-Chi at $75 million, Eternals at $71 million, and Black Widow’s hybrid release of $80 million in the cinema and $60 million at home on Disney+.

It also means that Matt Reeves’ The Batman, which opened to $134 million, is no longer the record holder for the biggest release of 2022. Looks like people prefer Kamar-Taj to Kurt Cobain.

So how does the sequel compare to the original box office? The first Doctor Strange made $85 million back on its opening weekend in 2016, closing with a run of $232 million domestically and $677 million internationally.

Those are good innings, but they can’t compare to The Multiverse of Madness, already at $450 million globally.

Doctor Strange 2 is also director Sam Raimi’s biggest release to date. While this is his first MCU film, it isn’t his first Marvel film. Raimi directed the Tobey Maguire Spider-Man films, not to mention a host of classic horrors like the Evil Dead series and 2009’s Drag Me To Hell.

Sam Raimi with Stan Lee
Director Sam Raimi with the late Stan Lee / Credit: Hollywood Reporter

The director’s talent for horror is on full display, and it’s exciting to see Marvel dabbling in less traditional superhero fare. You’ve got Marvel’s typical cavalcade of cameos, but you also have multiversal travel, some cool twists and a lot more blood and gore than you might expect.

To say The Multiverse of Madness is, well… mad, would be a terrible understatement.