All eyes are currently on Doctor Strange, Marvel’s first foray into the Mystic Arts, a film that is meant to potentially launch yet another franchise for Marvel Studios. Tickets officially went on sale this past Monday, and since then, Marvel has steadily been ramping up their marketing for the film. To most, Doctor Strange is viewed as a risk, much like 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy was once upon a time. Although Strange has a pretty established fan-base, the character isn’t mainstream compared to characters such as Captain America and Iron Man. (To be fair, though, there was a time when those characters weren’t considered mainstream either.) Which is why the box office numbers should prove to be interesting.
While the out there Guardians proved to be a massive success at the box office, pulling in nearly $800 Million worldwide during its run in 2014, last year’s Ant-Man proved to be a more moderate success raking in a little over $500 Million worldwide. To break it down further, Guardians was originally projected to open to $60 Million and ended up opening to over $90 Million, while Ant-Man was projected to open to $65 Million but only opened to $57 Million. As you can see, that’s a pretty big difference between the opening numbers for those films. Which is why today’s news that Doctor Strange has officially come on board tracking with a wide range of $55-$75 Million for its opening weekend isn’t entirely surprising.
Directed by Scott Derrickson, Doctor Strange stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Stephen Strange, a neurosurgeon-turned-sorcerer of several dimensions. The film hit the tracking boards this morning, with projections in the $55M-$75M range with a strong interest across the board, but of course it’s first choice among men under/over 25 at respectively 19% and 18%. The anticipation is that tracking will grow as we get closer to the release date.
Doctor Strange marks the second time that Marvel has played the fourth quarter of the year, and the second time in this early November corridor. Previously, the sequel Thor: The Dark World played during Nov. 8-10, 2013 earning $85.7M, an opening that bested its first chapter by 30%.
So why the huge range? At this point, it’s hard to tell where Doctor Strange will land in its opening weekend. There are multiple factors at play here, and quite honestly, we won’t have a good idea of the film’s tracking until about a week out from release. Hence the wide gap. Industry folks are expecting it to open somewhere between $55-$75 Million, but as we’ve seen before, it could very well surpass those numbers. You have to remember, reviews for the film haven’t hit yet, and it’s also following the highly praised Captain America: Civil War. Why is that last bit important? Because Guardians followed Captain America: The Winter Soldier, another highly praised film, whereas Ant-Man followed the highly divisive Avengers: Age of Ultron. Notice the trend there? Following impressive The Winter Soldier, Guardians overperformed, while following Age of Ultron, Ant-Man ended up slightly underperforming. With Doctor Strange following Civil War, I’d expect to see the film possibly near an $80 Million opening weekend.
What do you think Doctor Strange will open to? Let us know in the comments below!
Doctor Strange will hit the big screen on November 4th, 2016.