Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (Doctor Strange 2), a Disney film, has achieved the eleventh-highest weekend box office opening ever, grossing $185 million. The total nearly matches the combined debuts of Disney Marvel films in 2021, which saw Black Widow, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, and Eternals gross $227 million.
With key summer films like Thor: Love and Thunder, Jurassic World: Dominion, and Top Gun: Maverick ready for possible blockbuster numbers, Disney’s Marvel triumph is a strong hint that the pandemic-battered box office may finally be on the mend.
Doctor Strange 2 has demonstrated that cross-studio plot strands can work, in addition to reviving the box office magic of Disney’s Marvel flicks. In its multiverse-themed No Way Home film, Sony, which owns the cinematic rights to the Spider-Man series, defied convention by including Doctor Strange (a Disney-owned character) as a main character.
The multi-studio collaboration was most widely demonstrated with the addition of Spider-Man to the Avengers movie, although Spider-Man was only one of several superhero characters in those films. In that regard, seeing Peter Parker build a friendship with Tony Stark (Iron Man) and receive a new costume in Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame was more of a delight for viewers.
Unlike the Avengers films, however, Spider-Man: No Way Home’s multiverse idea made Doctor Strange a prominent character, bringing the Sony and Disney Marvel cinematic universes together in a unique way.
Doctor Strange 2 expands on the multiverse idea, with Dr. Stephen Strange making obvious references to the events of No Way Home and Spider-Man when speaking to the dimension-hopping heroine America Chavez. Despite the fact that the films were made by completely different companies, Doctor Strange 2 is effectively a sequel to both the original Doctor Strange picture from 2016 and No Way Home.