“Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” the latest timeline-bending entry in Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe, has kicked off at the international box office, collecting $27.2 million on opening day.
The film is currently playing in 20 overseas markets, including France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Korea. “Doctor Strange 2” opens in North America and several other territories on Friday.
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Based on Wednesday’s ticket sales, the newest “Doctor Strange” adventure is on track to secure a massive opening weekend internationally and domestically. According to Disney, inaugural box office figures are pacing only 4% behind “Spider-Man: No Way Home” (which ultimately debuted to $340 million internationally) in similar markets. Meanwhile, those box office receipts are 153% ahead of 2016’s “Doctor Strange” (which opened to $87 million internationally) and 210% ahead of “The Batman” (which debuted to $120 million internationally) at the same time in comparable territories.
When the comic book movie — the second standalone superhero adventure to spotlight Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Stephen Strange — touches down in the United States and Canada, it is projected to collect a mighty $160 million to $180 million over the weekend. Some box office experts believe those estimates are conservative and expect “Doctor Strange 2” to reach or surpass $200 million domestically in its first three days.
Overseas, “Doctor Strange 2” debuts day-and-date in most countries (excluding China, Russia and Ukraine), where it’s targeting $125 million to $140 million through Sunday. With those forecasts, “Doctor Strange” could clear an impressive $285 million to $340 million in global ticket sales in its inaugural weekend. The superhero tentpole cost $200 million to produce, not including hefty marketing fees.
At the international box office, “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” had the strongest sales on Wednesday in Korea with $5.9 million, followed by Japan with $3.8 million, France with $3 million and Italy with $2.2 million.
Separate from Wednesday’s early start in some countries, Disney has indicated “Doctor Strange 2″ is raking in strong preview sales in Mexico (with $3.5 million), Brazil ($2.7 million), Australia ($1.9 million) and across Latin America ($10.3 million). On Thursday, the film opens in the United Kingdom, Australia, Brazil and Mexico, as well as Croatia, Czech Rep, Greece, Hungary, Israel and Portugal, among others.
Sam Raimi directed “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” which picks up after the events of “Spider-Man: No Way Home.” In the latest film, the eponymous neurosurgeon-turned-Avenger casts a dangerous spell that forces him to travel into the multiverse to face a mysterious new adversary and alternate versions of himself. Along with Cumberbatch, the movie features Chiwetel Ejiofor as Karl Mordo, Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff a.k.a. Scarlet Witch, Benedict Wong as Wong and Xochitl Gomez as America Chavez, a teen who can travel between dimensions. Michael Stuhlbarg and Rachel McAdams round out the cast.