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 in the Multiverse of Madness” 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 deeming it “an unhinged ride, a CGI horror jam, a Marvel brainteaser and, at moments, a bit of an ordeal.”

Meanwhile, Universal’s “Firestarter” didn’t. Thought the Stephen King adaptation is the only new wide release this weekend, the film isn’t sparking at the box office. “Firestarter” looks to land in fourth place on domestic charts with a projected $3.57 million bow from 3,412 locations.

The film doesn’t have many positive impressions on its side, scoring a dismal 15% approval aggregate rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes and a fairly dismissive “C+” grade from general moviegoers on Cinema Score. Variety‘s Gleiberman wrote that “the whole thing plays like ‘Logan’ done in the worst humdrum rhythmless made-for-streaming generic style.” And with Universal electing to debut “Firestarter” day-and-date on its streaming service Peacock, audiences have even less of a reason to roll out to theaters for the horror film.

The Keith Thomas-directed “Firestarter” stars Zac Efron as the father of a girl (Ryan Kiera Armstrong) who has the power to create flames with her mind. Sydney Lemmon, Kurtwood Smith, John Beasley, Michael Greyeyes and Gloria Reuben also star.

More to come…

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