While American audiences still have a few more days until the launch of Doctor Strange into cinemas, the movie has now released in 45% of the markets in which it will run. The first weekend is a major victory as the film has pulled in $86 million, whereas Deadline called $70 million an “aggressive estimate” just five days ago. Put simply, the movie is blowing past the best case scenario predictions.
Check the Deadline link below for more thorough analysis. The big picture points are these:
-Korea is crazy about Doctor Strange. The film has made more in three days than most recent Marvel and D.C. films made in their entire run.
-Marvel is on an international roll. In many markets, there is a steady growth pattern for the first movies in a franchise. Doctor Strange is outpacing Ant-Man which outpaced Guardians of the Galaxy. Those first offerings had varying debuts in North America, but in many foreign territories, Marvel’s trajectory is more linear, going up and up and up.
-The IMAX upsell is an important part of this success. Doctor Strange more than doubled the previous October record for IMAX international box office, formerly held by Gravity. Preview footage and early reviews have all suggested that the IMAX and 3D experiences for this movie are more important than with other Marvel movies and fans seem to be responding. Expect eye-popping numbers next week on the IMAX and 3D side stateside.
-Regardless of how well he does in the role, Benedict Cumberbatch is a success on the financial side alone. The international success of Sherlock bodes well for his ability to become an international megastar, and Doctor Strange is coming at a perfect moment to announce the era of Cumberbatch. (Remember that Cumberbatch had a mini-hit when BBC released their Christmas Sherlock episode into limited theaters worldwide. Those are huge numbers given that was a TV episode that aired on free to air TV.)
-Looking at the numbers reminds everyone of how different movies can play overseas. Thor: The Dark World is regularly derided in the USA, but it opened above almost everything else in Phase Two internationally! Doctor Strange appears to be a property that is playing well overseas, meaning we’ll see a higher percentage of overall gross coming off shore.
-Though many markets opened this week, a few big players are still to come. In particular, observers will be watching closely how China receives the film when it comes out next week in the Middle Kingdom.
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