After Spider-Man: No Way Home, it is possible that Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness could be an even bigger financial success for the MCU.
Warning! Spoilers ahead for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
It seems all but certain that Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will be another hit for Marvel and Disney but it didn’t quite eclipse the incredible box office success of Spider-Man: No Way Home – though it had the opportunity. Since Disney became the home of Marvel Studios on December 31st, 2009, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has grown to become the king of the box office. However, the astonishing success of Avengers: Endgame was followed by less-than-stellar box office performances, particularly from Eternals and Black Widow which led to the feeling that perhaps the crown was slipping.
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The release of Spider-Man: No Way Home changed that. With its delirious mix of fun, emotion, and nostalgia it was a huge success, earning $1.891 billion at the box office despite the Covid-19 pandemic. This wasn’t exactly a surprise as Spider-Man has been an iconic superhero for years and Tom Holland’s portrayal was already popular with audiences. In addition to this, the appearance of much-loved villains like Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe), Doc Ock (Alfred Molina), and Electro (Jamie Foxx), as well as the two previous big-screen Spider-Men (Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield) made the movie a full-blown cross-generational crowd-pleaser. The difficulty Multiverse of Madness faces is in trying to follow that success.
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On the face of it, Multiverse of Madness has some specific advantages that even Spider-Man: No Way Home didn’t have. Doctor Strange 2 is the summer’s first big release, which could be a distinct advantage given that it will have few obvious box office rivals in the weeks following its release. More than this, its running time of just over two hours is over twenty minutes shorter than Spider-Man: No Way Home. This made it possible for theaters to fit in more screenings during those lucrative early weeks. Ultimately, however, Multiverse of Madness didn’t top No Way Home’s opening day domestic box office performance, grossing over $85 million as compared to the latter’s $121.5 million. Despite a tantalizing set-up, the movie could not recapture the magic of No Way Home and deliver an improvement on the novel multiverse concept explored in the previous film. As a result, Multiverse of Madness wasted the opportunity to improve upon No Way Home’s box office fortunes.
Why Doctor Strange 2 Could Have Beat No Way Home At The Box Office
Doctor Strange 2 had the potential to feature even more multiverse variants from previous Marvel movies than No Way Home. The film’s marketing teased the return of Sir Patrick Stewart as Professor X, hinting that his appearance only scratched the surface of what was to come in the film. What may have worked against the film beating No Way Home’s opening day performance, however, was simply the fact that it wasn’t marketed as a love letter to 19 years and three franchises of iconic Marvel films, but rather an exciting sequel starring a superhero who, while popular, isn’t quite as iconic as Spider-Man. The appearance of John Krasinki’s Reed Richards and a savage, villainous turn from The Scarlet Witch weren’t enough to tip the scales, as they were well-kept secrets rather than marketing fodder.
Doctor Strange 2 vs. No Way Home Opening Weekends: How Do They Compare?
Despite this, Doctor Strange 2 still had a strong opening day, making over $85 million. This unfortunately doesn’t quite compare to No Way Home’s record-shattering $121.5 million on its opening day. While Doctor Strange’s popularity is well-deserved, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ inability to top Spider-Man: No Way Home’s opening day box officer performance shows that it’s not so easy to dethrone a film that combines 19 years’ worth of iconic cinema content. Only two decades until the next one, then.
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About The Author
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James Eddy is a freelance writer for Screen Rant, focusing on Movie and TV Features.
Based in Norfolk, England, James works on writing fiction, mainly in the sci-fi and fantasy genres and on a website he designed to aid better mental health through reading books, listening to music, watching movies and encouraging creativity.
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