Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Money, and Other Box Office News.
Note: this article originally ran on Set the Tape (link).
Stop the presses! The damndest, most unexpected thing just happened! An MCU movie made truly stupid levels of money in its opening weekend! I know, it’s such a rarity to see this transpire with the biggest media franchise on the planet today and the only blockbuster series besides Batman which can reliably get masses of people into theatres on the reg anymore! Still, despite the fact that Marvel films remain by a considerable distance our most reliable mega-performers and therefore their openings shouldn’t really come as much of a shock, this one is still worthy of note. Specifically, $185 million worth of notes deposited straight into Disney’s bank accounts with only minimal taxes to pay on it because corporations are special people who don’t need to pull their own weight. The $90 million that Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness made in its opening day (+ Thursday night previews which always count for a lot of these) was more than the original Doctor Strange managed in its entire opening weekend almost six full years ago, in case you wanted a specific idea of the level of glow-up Steven Strange has had in the nightmare times since then. Or, in other words, that’s the eleventh biggest opening weekend of all-time based on, at press time, Disney’s conservative estimates. Always a chance they could find another $6/7 mil behind the back of the sofa and break into the Top 10.
Overseas, we see a similar level of Marvel madness breaking out. Whether that be because of the promise of big fanservice cameos, the knowledge that any and all spoiler etiquette rules were going out the window by 11:30PM on Friday night at the absolute latest, there being bugger else out either side, or the Raimi revellers worldwide coming together for their long-overdue moment of triumph; peeps saw the new Marvel. Precisely $265 million worth of peeps, in fact. That’s almost the entirety of what Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore has managed to make overseas in the space of a full month, a statistic which doesn’t actually mean anything but allows me a cheap kick at the expense of a shit film creatively headed by a garbage human being. Worth pointing out, too, that this number is sans China where Multiverse is still yet to get a release date and, if the continuing palaver over Spider-Man: No Way Home’s efforts are anything to go by, may not get one at all. So, for those doing the math, that’s $450 million in the first weekend of release. I think the MCU may survive just fine without the Chinese Box Office, don’t know about you folks’ thoughts on that.
Elsewhere, we surprisingly do have an “elsewhere” to briefly touch on! Whilst no major releases were foolhardy enough to try it against the big scary Marvel juggernaut, a couple of new Limited movies dared to shoot their shot regardless. Best-performing was the frustratingly more vital than ever French abortion drama Happening, which was already highly-acclaimed and buzzed-about even before misogynistic fundamentalist monsters were revealed to be planning on re-criminalising abortion ASAP. Thrust into an additional timely resonance, Happening picked up $34,000 from 4 screens for a PTA of $8,500. Meanwhile, the bad boy of French cinema Gaspar Noé decided to trail his most-acclaimed film in years (the upcoming Vortex) with a self-indulgent experimental short piece called Lux Æterna and, in a shocking turn up for the books based on that descriptor, the public may not have been into it. I have to hedge my bets using the “may” in that previous sentence because Box Office Mojo hasn’t actually got a screen count for the film. After all, if that’s $9,000 from 1 screen, then Lux is actually a roaring success and my cheap cynicism was for nought. If that money came from any more than 2 screens, however, then the average dips significantly and my prejudiced narrative remains unchallenged. Who can say?
Of course, it doesn’t matter one jot as Doctor Strange made nearly $41,000 per-screen because Marvel own everyone’s collective arses whether we gave them consent or not.
Alright, let’s try and find vaguely on-topic things to talk about in this Full List since I still haven’t seen Doctor Strange.
US Box Office Results: Friday 6th May 2022 – Sunday 8th May 2022
1] Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
$185,000,000 / NEW
I was meant to see it on Friday but got held back finishing up work and then my copy of the new Arcade Fire album turned up, so instead have pushed my viewing to the day this piece gets published. Means I’m not rushing to get to the cinema, and that the large downtime between the last available Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent screening and the Anamanaguchi gig later that night doesn’t get filled by the Downton Abbey movie. Wins all round, with any luck. Dave Bond would certainly seem to think so, this is his most positive MCU movie review since Phase 4 kicked off.
2] The Bad Guys
$9,770,000 / $57,572,485
Been aware of this for a while and just not had a proper outlet to spread the good news, but have y’all seen the trailer for Marcel the Shell with Shoes On? Swear that my heart spontaneously grew five sizes upon watching that and released levels of serotonin I didn’t even know I was still capable of experiencing! Whose inbox do I have to yell into to get this thing a UK release date?!
$6,200,000 / $169,901,471
$3,950,000 / $86,009,171
Jessica Williams deserved way better than this movie. Maybe pair her and Kathryn Newton up for a buddy picture where their duelling efforts at fast-talking screwball noir characters dropped into movies which refuse to match or even vibe with their energies can shine brighter? Relatedly: that’s probably the first time anybody has written about Newton’s performance in Detective Pikachu since the film’s release three years ago.
5] Everything Everywhere All at Once
$3,323,297 / $41,565,896
Now, if I were a total fucking illiterate gobshite hack fishing for outrage clicks despite insisting that I am a professional Box Office analyst for going on almost 50 years, I’d make some pithy snark post here about how Doctor Strange outgrossed Everything Everywhere All at Once in just one evening of release compared to the latter’s three weeks which is meant to insinuate some kind of level playing field/contest that neither film is actually engaged in. When confronted on my dumbass-ery, I would then double-down with childish petulance that further gives away I have no clue what the fuck I’m talking about and should probably just be ignored back into the pits of Twitter where I crawled out from.
Fortunately, I’m not one of those so instead I’ll point out that Everything had another really strong hold this weekend – a mere 40% drop, the second-best of the whole Top 10 – and move on.
6] The Northman
$2,770,415 / $28,049,000
7] The Lost City
$2,500,000 / $94,389,264
Fancy another slice of modern-updated adventure fun-times? Keep on looking, says Amy Walker, since The Adventures of Maid Marion is not it.
8] The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent
$1,525,000 / $16,388,403
A new Jackass series is in the works! Maybe the glut of gradually-expensive proprietary streaming services which are just rewriting cable TV but worse was worth it after all!
$1,220,000 / $5,492,665
Memory is a funny thing, ain’t it? For example, it can make one believe that Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones isn’t a terrible waste of space that’s the worst Star Wars film (albeit just barely since Rise of Skywalker sinks ever closer as the months pass). Nevertheless, Lachlan Haycock has offered up a valiant defence of the thing on its 20th anniversary.
10] Father Stu
$800,000 / $19,235,742
Kendrick Lamar is pretty good at this rapping thing. I think he’s gonna go places.
Dropped out: Morbius
Callie Petch fell asleep to the television.