Box Office: ‘Doctor Strange 2’ Second Weekend Beats ‘Firestarter’

The sorcerer continues to reign supreme in North America’s multiplexes of madness. “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” should easily top the domestic box office in its second weekend.

The Marvel superhero’s standalone sequel took in $16.7 million on Friday from 4,534 locations, marking an 81% drop from its massive $90 million opening day tally a week ago. As with most Marvel Cinematic Universe entries, “Strange 2” is revealing itself to be a frontloaded box office affair, though there isn’t much on May’s release slate that looks to pose much competition except for Focus Features’ “Downtown Abbey: A New Era” next week and Paramount’s “Top Gun: Maverick” on Memorial Day weekend.

After the expected plummet from a fanatic-packed opening day tally, “Multiverse of Madness” should balance out to around a 67% drop for the weekend. That’s on the steeper side of sophomore weekend drops for a Marvel Studios entry, though with a the eleventh-biggest domestic debut of all time there isn’t anywhere to go from there but down.

On Friday, Disney announced that “Strange 2” had crossed $550 million globally in just nine days. The film should surpass a $300 million domestic gross sometime over the next week.

Directed by Sam Raimi, “Doctor Strange 2” stars Benedict Cumberbatch as the titular superhero along with Elizabeth Olsen, Benedict Wong, Rachel McAdams, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Xochitl Gomez. Variety‘s review called the sequel “both entertaining and exhausting,” with Owen Gleiberman calling it “an unhinged ride, a CGI horror jam, a Marvel brainteaser and, at moments, a bit of an ordeal.”

Stephen King adaptation “Firestarter” is the only other notable wide release this weekend. The horror remake earned $375,000 in Thursday previews and is also landing day-and-date on Peacock. The film doesn’t have positive reviews on its side, with Variety‘s Gleiberman writing that “the whole thing plays like ‘Logan’ done in the worst humdrum rhythmless made-for-streaming generic style.”

The Keith Thomas-directed “Firestarter” also stars Ryan Kiera Armstrong, Sydney Lemmon, Kurtwood Smith, John Beasley, Michael Greyeyes and Gloria Reuben.

More to come…

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