Staggered release dates for movies may be irritating for fans, but studio executives are sure to love seeing the ticket sales keep on shooting upwards. Case in point: the ongoing box office success of Doctor Strange. Here in the western hemisphere, we’re soaring towards the home release of the Sorcerer Supreme’s first solo outing, but elsewhere he is still working his magic on the global box office...
Doctor Strange’s “Super” Run
As Forbes reports, Doctor Strange recently had its final premiere in Japan, and it has already conjured up some sizable sums for Kevin Feige et al. Indeed, Japanese audiences seem very keen to see the good doctor begin his education in the mystic arts, collectively paying $2.1 million to do so... and that’s this week alone.
With a strong run in both the UK and the USA, these latest figures mean that Doctor Strange has earned $669.7m for Marvel worldwide. Somewhere, in the sizable Marvel bank vault that’s already bursting with money, that massive pile of cash has just grown bigger once again. Scrooge McDuck eat your heart out!
So, that’s good right? Well, it definitely seems to be for #Marvel at least, but then again, it’s not always easy to quantify the success of a film. This is due to the fact that studios don’t tend to disclose just how much they paid to make and market a particular movie. Therefore, those massive earnings may not make up for the hidden, humongous studio spending.
However, it definitely seems that Doctor Strange’s $669.7m in ticket sales has been a solid, if not runaway, hit for the House of Ideas. If you’re like me, and you need some sort of context for that kind of success, then it’s worth mentioning that Doctor Strange is now the sixth highest-grossing comic book superhero origin film worldwide. Plus, it also means that it has just passed #ManofSteel’s worldwide sum of $668m, a fact which may aggrieve some fans...
Is 'Doctor Strange’ Better Than ‘Man of Steel’?
There are several ways that these details are going to be unpicked by Marvel or #DC buffs, but the most likely train of thought will be this old chestnut: does this mean that Doctor Strange/Marvel Studios is better or more popular than Man of Steel/the #DCEU? And as we all know, that’s not a question that has a straightforward answer.
As a character, Doctor Strange certainly doesn’t have the same iconic status as Superman. Therefore, the fact that Strange beat Supes at the box office is not to be sniffed at. Though many people felt that Doctor Strange was a tad too similar to other Marvel movies, it didn’t have the same muddled response that Man of Steel met upon its release. This may explain why Doctor Strange was able to overtake #Superman’s solo outing.
Contrary to what some people think, the media’s response can still sway public enthusiasm for a film. Comic book fans may flock to theaters to see their favorite heroes in action, but the general word of mouth is still a deciding factor for many potential moviegoers.
Yet it’s not all doom and gloom for the DCEU. Forbes notes that Doctor Strange’s chances of overtaking #SuicideSquad's $745m takings are pretty slim, and its potential to challenge #BatmanVSuperman’s position is even slimmer.
But if you want to use these statistics to add fuel to the Marvel v #DC debate (come on man...) there are some general factors that must be considered first.
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Why Did Doctor Strange Pass $669.7m?
If we are looking for indicators as to why Doctor Strange has done well, then look no further than its leading man. Thanks to his stellar turn in the acclaimed series Sherlock, the dashing #BenedictCumberbatch is fast-approaching 'national treasure' status in the UK, and he is proving very popular with foreign audiences. #Sherlock has been broadcast in over 200 territories, which is no small feat when we consider how very few television shows get that much circulation. He may not be at Tom Cruise’s level yet, but the power of the Cumberbatch is proving to be quite a compelling draw for audiences.
We’ve also got to face facts about Marvel Studios and its movies. Marvel have quickly and undeniably become force to contend with in the decade that they have been assembling their on-screen universe. In that time, they have yet to produce an outright critical and commercial misfire, and they have cultivated lesser known properties (see #AntMan and #GuardiansoftheGalaxy) into household names. The box office of Doctor Strange proves just how much weight the Marvel logo carries, since audiences already expect the movie to be a fun and action-packed two hours before it even hits our theaters.
Ultimately, whether or not Doctor Strange is better or worse than Man of Steel is not something that can easily be quantified. Sure, one may have been more palatable to critics, but at the end of the day which one you prefer is completely up to you.
But will this news affect Doctor Strange's future in the #MCU?
With such a solid response, a sequel to Doctor Strange seems almost certain, even though it might be sometime until we see him in another movie of his own.
Marvel already has a bursting line-up until 2019, so barring some major shakeup of their schedule, it’s doubtful that #DoctorStrange2 will arrive any time before then. On the other hand, we are definitely seeing him in #ThorRagnarok and #InfinityWar, so we won't have to wait too long before we see him again!