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411 Box Office Report: Doctor Strange In the Multiverse of Madness Threepeats At #1

May 22, 2022 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas

It was a third week atop the box office for Doctor Strange, as the MCU sequel topped Downton Abbey: A New Era for the #1 spot. Doctor Strange In the Multiverse of Madness brought in $31.6 million in its third frame to claim the top position again, a 49% drop that is much more reasonable than last week’s 67% slip.

The multiverse-spanning franchise film is already at a profit point at this point, having grossed $342.1 million domestically and $803.2 million worldwide. The film has topped the worldwide numbers of fellow MCU entries Guardians of the Galaxy ($770.9 million) and Captain America: The Winter Soldier ($714.4 million), and without having that all-important opening in China, to boot. The film is still likely to cross the $400 million mark by the end of its domestic run and probably higher, making it yet another hit on Marvel’s resume. The budget was $200 million.

While it played second best this weekend, Downton Abbey: A New Era still performed respectably with a $16 million opening weekend. To some, this will be marked as a disappointment. It’s a touch below the $20 million opening that some expected it to do; after all, the first film in the franchise opened to $31 million back in 2019.

However, we’re not in the 2019 era. And while it’s a broken record to say, older audiences still are not coming out to theaters in the way they used to pre-pandemic as has been evidenced by a bevy of older-skewing films that opened lower than expected. Those include West Side Story, The Last Duel, Death on the Nile, House of Gucci, Respect — the list could go on.

It is also worth noting that Downton Abbey: A New Era was never expected to reach the numbers of its predecessor. That film was released four years after the beloved PBS series ended and the anticipation was much higher for it. While audiences were interested in A New Era, it wasn’t marketed as an event film the way the first was. Buzz was kept high thanks to very good critical word (an 85% aggregate score on RT) and great word of mouth (an A CinemaScore and a 97% RT audience score).

It should also be noted that A New Era is already in fine shape. While the $16 domestic start is solid, the overseas numbers are even better where the film has taken in $35.7 million for a $51.7 million total thus far. That puts the film on the road to profit already against a $40 million budget. The film should have decent legs domestically and could finish up as high as $50 million.

The Bad Guys had a great hold in its fifth weekend, with Universal & Dreamworks animated film taking in an additional $6.1 million. That’s down a mere 13% and demonstrates how family films are delivering this year so far. The adventure comedy has now grossed $74.4 million domestically and $182.2 million worldwide, big numbers against a $69 million production budget plus marketing. The domestic total now looks to end around $90 million or so, which will be a great result for a modestly-budgeted film (as animation goes).

Sonic The Hedgehog 2 is also showing great legs, adding $3.9 million in its seventh weekend (off just 15%). The Paramount film has now grossed $181 million domestically and $375 million worldwide, and is looking to end its run as high as $190 million stateside. It’s obviously a hit against a budget of $90 million.

A24 had a quiet opening with Alex Garland’s Men, which was lost in the shuffle and took in just $3.3 million. That’s below the $5 million or so that was expected for this horror flick. It’s well below the $11.1 million start of Garland’s last film, 2018’s Annihilation, and also below the wide release of Ex Machina which took in $5.3 million when it expanded in April of 2015.

It must be noted that unlike the Natalie Portman-starring Annihilation, Men doesn’t have a bankable star it could rely on in the marketing. Still, this isn’t the opening the studio wanted for this film, which had solid critical buzz with a 75% RT aggregate score. But A24 always knew this wasn’t going to be a Hereditary-like breakout thanks to the aforementioned lack of star power and the challenging material.

The bad news for the studio here is that the film is proving as divisive as one might expect, with a 47% RT audience reaction and an ugly D+ CinemaScore. That will not be helping word of mouth at all, which means that this won’t be building its reputation and growing its grosses. Men seems unlikely to top $10 million and will likely be the first financial feature film failure of Garland’s career.

In much better news for A24, Everything Everywhere All at Once cannot be stopped. The Michelle Yeoh-starring multiversal sci-fi action-comedy took in another $3.1 million, down just 6% in its ninth weekend. That moves the film up to $52.3 million domestically and $57 million worldwide, making it A24’s highest-grossing domestic film to date. Everything Everywhere will be arriving on home video after too long, but at this point it does seem likely to close out its run in the $60 million range, making it a hit against its $25 million budget.

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore continues to scratch and claw its way toward the $100 million mark, but it’s not there yet as it brought in $1.9 million in its sixth weekend. That’s down a solid 25% and puts the threequel at $93.1 million domestically and $388 million worldwide. It’s still not looking like a profitable film thanks to the $200 million budget, and should close out close to (but probably not crossing) that $100 million line domestically.

Firestarter followed up its flop of an opening weekend with a so-so sophomore frame. The horror drama took in $1.9 million, marking a 50% drop from last weekend. That would be a fine hold for a horror film if the opening weekend hadn’t been so low. As it stands, the Stephen King re-adaptation has grossed $7 million domestically and $10.6 million worldwide, which aren’t great against a $12 million budget. However, in this case the day-and-date release on Peacock may allow Universal to consider this a success if it helped drive some subscriptions. Either way, it should end around $10 million domestically.

The Lost City added $1.5 million in its nineth weekend, down just 12%. The adventure-romantic comedy is now at $99.3 million domestic total and $175.9 million worldwide, a hit against its $68 million budget. It will close out around $105 million or so.

The Northman closed out the top ten, bringing in $1 million for a fell 40% drop in its fifth weekend, scoring $1.7 million. The Robert Eggers-directed revenge drama is a failure in theaters, grossing $33 million domestically and $63.5 million worldwide with a $70 million budget. It will finish domestically at around $35 million.

Doctor Strange will clear the way next weekend for Top Gun: Maverick. The highly-anticipated sequel to the 1984 blockbuster is expected to open in the $100 million range. Meanwhile, The Bob’s Burgers Movie should open in the mid-to-high single digits.

BOX OFFICE TOP TEN (Three-Day Domestic Numbers)
1. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness – $31.6 million ($342.1 million total, $803.2 million WW)
2. Downton Abbey: A New Era – $16 million ($16 million total, $51.7 million WW)
3. The Bad Guys – $6.1 million ($74.4 million total, $182.2 million WW)
4. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 – $3.9 million ($181 million total, $375.5 million WW)
5. Men – $3.3 million ($3.3 million total, $3.3 million WW)
6. Everything Everywhere All At Once – $3.1 million ($52.3 million total, $57 million WW)
7. Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore – $1.9 million ($93.1 million total, $388 million WW)
8. Firestarter – $1.9 million ($7 million total, $10.6 million WW)
9. The Lost City – $1.5 million ($99.3 million total, $175.9 million WW)
10. The Northman – $1 million ($33 million total, $63.5 million WW)