Behind the scenes:

Doctor Strange 2

Flames

It scored the second-biggest opening day ever in Malaysia behind Avengers: Endgame and scored the biggest Covid-era opening days in several territories (Thailand, the Philippines, Singapore) while scoring the biggest opening day since The Rise of Skywalker in Belgium.

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It’ll essentially be opening worldwide, save for China, Russia, Ukraine and parts of the Middle East over this week.

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Considering the alleged reasons for not approving the last handful of MCU flicks (a brief reference to America Chavez having two mothers and/or the onscreen inclusion of a newsstand for the Epoch Times in Doctor Strange 2,

Setting the Stage

Time to Prep

too much screentime for the Statue of Liberty in Spider-Man: No Way Home), I’d argue that China’s government just doesn’t want MCU movies in their theaters and is finding arbitrary reasons to deny clearances.

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Of course, if Universal’s Jurassic World: Dominion (which has been cleared for release) doesn’t get anywhere near the $225-$265 million grosses of its predecessors and

Avatar: The Way of Water doesn’t soar to infinity and beyond (Avatar earned $205 million in 2010 and a reissue brought in another $55 million in 2021), then it may become irrelevant as to whether Hollywood films play in China anyway.

The like-for-like comparisons are 4% below Spider-Man: No Way Home, +153% from Doctor Strange in late 2016 and 210% above The Batman. So far, I might be inclined to argue that Sam Raimi’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is playing less like a solo MCU summer kick-off film (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.

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The like-for-like comparisons are 4% below Spider-Man: No Way Home, +153% from Doctor Strange in late 2016 and 210% above The Batman. So far, I might be inclined to argue that Sam Raimi’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is playing less like a solo MCU summer kick-off film (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.

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2, which earned $869 million global in 2017) and more like an MCU event movie/mythology episode summer kick-off flick (Captain America: Civil War, which earned $1.155 billion worldwide in 2016).

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