The Marvel Cinematic Universe started all the way back in 2008 with Robert Downey Jr. first taking on the persona of Tony Stark in Iron Man. Fast forward to 2016 - Marvel Studios has released 14 films in total, six of them solo introductions for new heroes. Hulk, Thor, Captain America, and Ant-Man were each previously been given solo films and Benedict Cumberbatch's Sorcerer Supreme got the same treatment when Doctor Strange debuted earlier this month.
Each of the MCU's previous solo debuts have been successful launching points for these characters, setting them up for subsequent adventures and team-ups. While audiences will have to wait at least a year before Strange returns to the big screen, they've proven through ticket sales that the character will have some staying power.
After a month in theaters, Doctor Strange has become the highest grossing film debut of a solo Marvel Studios hero. This distinction comes after another good weekend at the worldwide box office, according to Exhibitor Relations, with the movie now having grossed $616 million worldwide. This has given the sorcerer just the kick he needed to pass the previous record held by Iron Man ($585.2 million).
Despite being initially seen as a risky property, Doctor Strange has proven once again proven Marvel Studios' ability to turn a profit on films featuring their more obscure characters. Both Guardians of the Galaxy ($773 million) and The Avengers ($1.5 billion) are still higher earners, and first installments of a Marvel Studios, but these are also ensemble pieces. Doctor Strange's new record is for single character debuts. Only time will tell if Strange has the legs to topple any more Marvel records, though competition from Fantastic Beasts, Moana, and the upcoming Rogue One won't help.
Doctor Strange continues to perform well in multiple markets across the globe and still has a few smaller markets where it is only now opening. Japan is the only market yet to see a theatrical release and has proven to be an important one. With the financial success and warm reception that the film has received, the future appears to be bright for Marvel's latest hero.
Audience members who stayed through the credits know Strange may be returning for Thor: Ragnarok next year. Cumberbatch has also confirmed his involvement in Avengers: Infinity War. With him becoming more heavily involved with the larger picture and seeds planted in Doctor Strange for a sequel, his next solo film should be able to build off this success to become a staple member of Marvel's slate moving forward.
Source: Exhibitor Relations
- Doctor Strange (2016) release date: Nov 04, 2016
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) release date: May 05, 2017
- Black Panther (2018) release date: Feb 16, 2018
- Avengers: Infinity War / The Avengers 3 (2018) release date: Apr 27, 2018
- Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Untitled Avengers Movie (2019) release date: May 03, 2019