Six months after its first trailer dropped following Spider-Man: No Way Home's premiere, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is finally here.
Perhaps to no one's surprise, Benedict Cumberbatch's return as Stephen Strange is breaking records at the box office. After pulling in $36 million in Thursday previews, the sequel made $90 million on Friday and is now on track to make anywhere between $170 million to more than $200 million at the local box office over the weekend.
Regardless of where the numbers end up, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will most likely pull ahead of The Batman's $134 million take in March. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like the Doctor Strange sequel will be as big as No Way Home. Despite Cumberbatch's vote of confidence, the final weekend tally should tell a similar tale to the pre-sales tickets numbers, with the MCU film falling short of the Sony release (around $200 million vs $260 million).
Of course, No Way Home was always going to be a tough act to follow and Doctor Strange 2 is at least picking up exactly where the latest Spider-Man film left off.
At the end of the day, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness still set a new record for the seventh-biggest opening-day haul in history, giving Marvel Studios 5 out of the top 10 titles on the list.
All told, the Doctor Strange follow-up has made more than $230 million at the global box office and should have more than $500 million in the coffers by the end of the weekend.
The only question now is where Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will end up in the grand scheme of things. The early reviews tell a pretty divisive tale and things have only gone worse since. Case in point, Doctor Strange 2 is just the third MCU movie to earn a lower Cinemascore rating than A- with a Rotten Tomatoes score (75%) that's closer to the bottom of the pack than it is to the top.
The trailers and word of mouth did an excellent job spreading the news of who could potentially appear in the multiversal affair, but there's genuine concern that the negative reviews could have a huge impact on further showings.
Only time will tell if Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will hit the billion-dollar mark.
If it's any consolation, Marvel Studios has two more upcoming movies that could surpass Multiverse of Madness at the global box office. Chris Hemsworth's return as Thor in Thor: Love and Thunder should enjoy better numbers than Thor: Ragnarok on July 8, 2022, after the hype generated by the first trailer. Meanwhile, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will hit theaters on November 11, 2022, after filming wrapped up in March.