In just a matter of days (as of this writing), North American moviegoers will finally get a chance to see Doctor Strange, the second film of Marvel’s Phase 3. The early indication is that the origin story from director Scott Derrickson is another winner for the franchise, as many of the early reviews are positive. In particular, the visuals have been widely praised as something unlike anything seen in the MCU before, and the consensus is that Doctor Strange demands to be seen on the biggest screen possible for maximum effect.
Like most of its Marvel brethren, Doctor Strange is playing in IMAX 3D and RealD 3D, but the use of the premium format is not a shameless cash grab to make more money from higher ticket prices. The film is considered an instance where seeing it in that manner is almost a necessity. For those viewers still on the fence, a recently released featurette (watch it above) explains “The IMAX Difference” of Doctor Strange and how the movie is enhanced in 3D.
Including sound bites from principal players such as Benedict Cumberbatch, Mads Mikkelsen, Benedict Wong, and Derrickson, it’s revealed that Doctor Strange includes over an hour of IMAX footage. Given that the film is one of the shortest in the MCU to date, this means a majority of the runtime should be presented this way. The marketing campaign has done a great job so far showcasing Doctor Strange‘s mind-bending spectacle that recalls imagery from Christopher Nolan’s Inception. All signs are pointing to a jaw-dropping experience that Cumberbatch teases will take the film art form to the next level.
Both Mikkelsen and Derrickson make a point to emphasize the immersive nature of watching Doctor Strange. The two explain how when watching the movie, the viewer will feel like they are actually in the film’s environment, as opposed to simply sitting in a theater. This is a strong selling point, as it gives audiences the impression that they will be missing out on something special if they choose to skip the multiplex. In a year where several big-budget projects have been disappointing commercially, any advantage will help. Wong even recommends seeing it twice, since there’s so much going on in the set pieces that it’s practically impossible to take it all in during a single screening. If the general public’s reaction is anything like the critical response, several moviegoers will certainly heed that advice.
It will be interesting to see how bravura of the visuals will impact Doctor Strange‘s box office performance. The film got off to a strong start in international markets last week, and the domestic projections suggest an opening weekend in the range of $55-75 million. That would be a great debut for the relatively unknown comic book character, serving as a stellar introduction for what should be one of the most important figures in the franchise moving forward. With word-of-mouth in its favor and its status as a theatrical must-see solidified, there’s no reason Doctor Strange can’t be another big Marvel hit.