With only a few weeks to go before Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness arrives in theaters, the upcoming MCU film has received its official MPA rating. What's more telling is the description that teases horror elements.
The Doctor Strange sequel is not the first Marvel Cinematic Universe movie to get a PG-13 rating. In fact, all MCU films are rated PG-13 because of sexual content as well as violence and language that is unsuitable for younger audiences.
What makes Sam Raimi's MCU debut so interesting is what's said in its MPA rating, hinting that Doctor Strange 2 will have "intense sequence sequences of violence and action, frightening images and some language."
Before Raimi took over, Scott Derrickson always intended to make the follow-up to the first Doctor Strange film as MCU's first truly scary movie. Subsequent reports suggest that this vision from the Sinister director led to creative differences resulting in Marvel Studios going in a different direction.
After reading the PG-13 description, it appears that Multiverse of Madness will use horror elements to tell an effective tale. Ironically, Raimi is also known for horror films. Before becoming the guy behind the seminal Spider-Man movies from the 2000s, Raimi made a name for himself with the Evil Dead franchise.
It was always wishful thinking for Disney to invest so much into a film that wouldn't come close to making a billion dollars at the global box office. The highest-grossing horror film of all time, 2017's It, only made $327 million. This is a figure that's lower than even the worst-performing MCU film (at least, financially), 2011's Captain America: The First Avenger.
The good news is that singling out "frightening images" suggests that Saimi did have some leeway to get creative and use his talents as a horror filmmaker. Judging from what we've seen in Raimi's previous works, we could find a familiar mix of horror and silliness that might be exactly what MCU's first outing this 2022 needs to generate chatter and keep audiences engaged en route to yet another billion-dollar project.
Ultimately, Saimi's track record more than makes him deserving of the benefit of the doubt. Unfortunately, all this exciting news will only make fans more eager to speed up time so that they can start watching Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness in theaters.
Speaking of, after Cumberbatch expressed his confidence that his movie will match Spider-Man: No Way Home the pre-sales ticket figures suggest that The Power of the Dog actor was modest. With Marvel Studios treating the next Doctor Strange film like Endgame, we wouldn't be surprised if it joins both of the latest Avengers movies as the only MCU films to rake in at least $2 billion.