Doctor Strange made a lot of money this weekend.
Way more money than expected.
And it cleaned up overseas too.
Alright already. I’m all “yayed” out at this point. We get it.
But do you really? Do you actually realize how big of a deal this movie is right now at the box office? I know we all assume the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) movies simply print money, which they do, but some do it faster and more impressively than others. Doctor Strange, the trippy, experimental “Tony Stark with magic and LSD visuals,” is off to one of the fastest starts in MCU history.
You made a chart, didn’t you?
And now you have to explain the chart like this is the methods section of an academic paper.
Um, shut up. And, yes, I do.
Here’s the thing: You can’t really fairly compare every single MCU movie’s box office because they all have different release patterns. Most come out overseas a week early (e.g., Doctor Strange, Civil War, Age of Ultron, Civil War, The Avengers) but some hit the US and the rest of the world at the same time (e.g., Ant-Man, Guardians of the Galaxy). Most come out in the summer (Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America) but others are dropped in the spring (Winter Soldier) or winter (The Dark World, Doctor Strange). Some have to wait months to even sniff China whereas others hit The Middle Kingdom within a week of their US release, if not earlier.
However, it is increasingly the norm to read about an MCU’s domestic opening and then see a sentence or two further down the page which quickly references the film’s international performance and how it’s actually been out overseas for at least week, with everything adding up to an impressive-sounding global gross after 10 days of worldwide release. As such, I don’t know how impressed I should be to read Doctor Strange currently stands at $325m worldwide after its impressive domestic debut and international performance. How exactly does that compare to the rest of the MCU?
So, yes, I made a chart, adding each MCU film’s 10-day international total to its 3-day domestic debut to produce a 10-day worldwide total. This is an imperfect method for a variety of reasons, but it did help me better contextualize Doctor Strange‘s debut. Simply put, Doctor Strange is easily off to the hottest start for any non-sequel (or any non-Avengers movie) in MCU history:
Of course, it’s not necessarily always how hot you start but how well you finish. For example, after 10 days Thor: The Dark World was sitting pretty, but it trailed off enough that both Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy ended up with a higher worldwide gross. So, who knows where exactly Doctor Strange will end up in relation to the rest of the MCU, but the grand experiment to add magic into the MCU and give yet another relatively obscure character his own movie is paying off handsomely at the box office thus far.