The Marvel Cinematic Universe has always drawn big crowds to theatres. Some critics wondered if the franchise was starting to stagnate after releasing over a dozen big-budget movies, but Doctor Strange is showing that superheroes are still popular. The film is finishing its second weekend with a projected domestic gross of $45 million, adding onto its $85 million opening.
Doctor Strange was once considered an odd choice for a stand-alone movie. The 1960s-era hero uses magic to manipulate time and space, occasionally showing up in the comics to help the Avengers. Fans wondered how the Marvel studio would integrate his unique powers into the existing universe. The movie garnered excellent reviews on aggregate rating site Rotten Tomatoes, indicating that the writers were able to pull it off. Benedict Cumberbatch’s acting chops and broad appeal across multiple demographics aren’t hurting the film either.
Although the film faced some early controversy with the decision to cast a white woman in a role that originated as a Tibetan man, that clearly hasn’t hurt the box office numbers. Studio executives are betting that their decision will help the film play better to an international audience, particularly China, which doesn’t currently recognize Tibet as a separate state. Doctor Strange may not end up as the top-grossing MCU film to date, but it will certainly covers its budget and bring back a healthy profit.