The box office should see its biggest numbers since August this weekend with the release of Marvel Studios’ Doctor Strange, and the superhero pic is already off to a pretty solid start. The film scored $9.4 million from Thursday night previews, which puts it right in the middle of the pack as far as MCU movies go. It’s higher than the preview screenings for Iron Man 2 and Thor: The Dark World, as well as the $6.4 million from Ant-Man, which was Marvel’s most recent standalone feature. All signs point to Doctor Strange outgrossing Ant-Man’s $57 million opening back in July 2015, which was a so-so start that led to $519 million worldwide thanks to the film having long legs at the box office.
Doctor Strange’s preview numbers are below Guardians of the Galaxy’s $11.2 million and the $15.6 million scored by Iron Man 3, and obviously well below the numbers for both Avengers movies, Captain America: Civil War, and just a touch lower than Captain America: The Winter Soldier which scored $10.3 million. The most accurate comparison, however, is Thor: The Dark World given that it’s the only other Marvel movie that opened in November, and Doctor Strange topped the Thor sequel’s $7.1 million preview numbers handily.
So how high will Doctor Strange soar? That depends. Estimates at this juncture, coming off of mostly positive reviews, have the film pegged to open in the $80 million range. That would, again, put it somewhere in the middle range of MCU movies around 9th or 10th place, above Ant-Man and most of the Phase One films but below everything else. The trick to MCU films that aren’t sequels, though, is that they have continually shown to have very long legs, performing well at the box office week-after-week as word of mouth spreads. That could certainly be the case with Doctor Strange, especially given that the film has already accumulated a robust $132.9 million at the international box office.
We’ll find out for sure when the film opens in theaters this weekend. For now, Benedict Cumberbatch’s MCU debut looks to be doing just fine. Take a look at the opening weekends of prior Marvel films below.
|1.||Marvel’s The Avengers||$207,438,708|
|2.||Avengers: Age of Ultron||$191,271,109|
|3.||Captain America: Civil War||$179,139,142|
|4.||Iron Man 3||$174,144,585|
|5.||Iron Man 2||$128,122,480|
|7.||Captain America: The Winter Soldier||$95,023,721|
|8.||Guardians of the Galaxy||$94,320,883|
|9.||Thor: The Dark World||$85,737,841|
|11.||Captain America: The First Avenger||$65,058,524|
|13.||The Incredible Hulk||$55,414,050|