The Benedict Cumberbatch-starring Doctor Strange is the first Marvel Cinematic Universe movie to arrive after Captain America: Civil War, as well as the MCU’s first major foray into the mystic arts. Doctor Strange has been anticipated by MCU fans for that reason, with box office analysts projecting an opening weekend of $65-70 million for the film. Such an opening would place the Sorcerer Supreme on the level of the first Thor film, which opened in the U.S. with a $65 million weekend. Where Thor holds a respectable 77% Rating on Rotten Tomatoes, Doctor Strange is garnering closer to universal acclaim with a 90% Rating on the review aggregation site (at the time of writing this).
It has now become a tradition for blockbuster films to have Thursday night preview screenings, ahead of their wide U.S. theatrical releases. These previews, which used to be midnight specials, have expanded to multiple showings as early as 6-7 pm Thursday evening. As such, a whole crop of MCU fans in the U.S. headed out to their local theater for a Doctor Strange Thursday preview screening, in order to check out the Sorcerer Supreme’s first major live-action appearance. Now, the numbers are in, and Doctor Strange has come in ahead of a number of past Marvel films, in that respect.
Deadline is reporting that Doctor Strange earned $9.4 million domestically from Thursday night showings, while also upping its international total to $133 million. The domestic number is larger than the MCU’s last November release, Thor: The Dark World, which earned $7.1 million from Thursday night showings. Doctor Strange‘s $9.4 million is also ahead of Ant-Man‘s Thursday night receipts of $6.4 million. According to Deadline, Thursday night receipts typically account for 30%-35% of a film’s Friday numbers. Assuming that remains true, Doctor strange is looking at $26-31 million from Friday alone. Thor: The Dark World came in at the higher end of that range and ended up grossing $85 million in its opening weekend.
With critics and audiences alike shouting Doctor Strange‘s praise, it would not be surprising if the Benedict Cumberbatch-starring film earns more than its projections, coming close to, or even surpassing, Thor: The Dark World‘s opening numbers. The film’s marketing campaign has highlighted the stunning visuals, fresh action sequences, and world ending stakes that make Doctor Strange a movie that must be seen on the largest screen possible.
Should Doctor Strange manages to out-gross Thor: The Dark World, which received a nice boost from The Avengers, the film would be the highest grossing first solo outing in the MCU outside of Iron Man (and not considering Guardians of the Galaxy a solo outing). Either way, it looks like Marvel has another hit on their hands, adding to Disney’s already monster 2016 year. Marvel continues to prove that it is at the top of its game, and things are looking good as we move ever closer to the biggest MCU film of them all: 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War.