Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness conjures $185 million debut as second-largest pandemic open
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness cast a spell over moviegoers this weekend and summoned a mystical $185 million debut at the domestic box office, becoming the second-largest opening during the pandemic.
The Marvel film trails behind Spider-Man: No Way Home's $260 million debut, which continues its reign as the biggest pandemic opening. While Dr. Stephen Strange is no match for Spider-Man, he has, however, bested Batman: Multiverse of Madness nabbed The Batman's ($134 million) previously held title as the biggest domestic opening of 2022 so far, according to Comscore.
Benedict Cumberbatch reprises his role as the titular Sorcerer Supreme in director Sam Raimi's sequel. When Stephen Strange casts a forbidden spell that opens a portal to another multiverse that includes alternative versions of himself, humanity becomes at stake. Elizabeth Olsen, Chewitel Ejioifor, Benedict Wong, Patrick Stewart, Xochitl Gomez, and Rachel McAdams also star in the follow-up to 2016's Doctor Strange.
EW's Leah Greenblatt calls it the "loopiest, bloodiest Marvel movie yet" in her B review. "In a movie that already contains multitudes, finding a throughline can feel like reaching for a rope swing in the dark; characters are grounded in urgent emotional intimacy one moment, and throwing bolts of CG lightning at demon-octopi the next," Greenblatt writes. "In many ways, Strange is a mess, and probably 20 minutes too long at two hours (which in Marvel math, is still practically a haiku). It's rarely boring though, down to the last obligatory post-credit scene — whether or not there's method in the Madness."
Meanwhile, The Bad Guys is No. 2 at the domestic box office. It grossed an additional $9.7 million by Sunday, bringing its North American total to $57 million. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 follows in third place with an additional $6.2 million, bringing its total to $169 million. Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore is No. 4 with an additional $3.9 million and $86 million overall. And because the multiverse is so hot right now, Everything Everywhere All at Once rounds out the top five; the interdimensional epic earned an additional $3.3 million this weekend, bringing its total to an impressive $41.5 million.
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