Box office: ‘Doctor Strange’ wins another weekend, while ‘Firestarter’ is doused out

It was no surprise to anyone that Marvel Studios’ “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” won its second weekend at the box office, especially after its astounding $187.4 million opening weekend – the second best opening since 2019. Even so, the Benedict Cumberbatch-starrer took a pretty heavy hit in its second weekend.

After mixed reviews and a lower-than-usual CinemaScore, “Multiverse of Madness” took a 68% drop for an estimated $61 million. It has grossed $291.4 million domestically and should cross $300 million this coming week, but it might end up being capped off around $400 million with other strong releases opening in late May and early June. Ideally, it would at least make $408 million, which was what both “Iron Man 3” and “Captain America: Civil War” made after opening roughly $10 million lower than “Doctor Strange 2,” but both of those movies had grossed more money by the end of their second weekends.

On top of that, the Marvel sequel added another $83.5 million overseas this weekend to bring its two-week global total to $688.1 million. It has already made more than the original “Doctor Strange” took in globally in 2016.

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DreamWorks Animations’ “The Bad Guys” remained in second place with $6.9 million, down just 28% in its third weekend. The animated comedy has made $66.3 million domestically and another $99.3 million overseas, which brings its global total to $165.6 million

It’s hard to believe that “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” opened way back in early April, since it’s still in the top 3 at the box office, remaining in third place this weekend with $4.5 million (down just 24%) with $175.7 million grossed domestically. That makes it the third highest-grossing movie of the year (at least domestically) after “Multiverse of Madness” and “The Batman,” the latter which is currently reigning with $369.2 million.

The widest new release of the weekend was the Blumhouse adaptation of Stephen King’s “Firestarter,” starring Zac Efron and Ryan Kiera Armstrong, which absolutely tanked by making just $3.82 million in 3,412 theaters or about $1,120 per theatr. Universal decided to release the horror remake day-and-date on the Peacock streaming network, and the studio also didn’t screen the movie in advance for critics, which may have been rather telling when reviews came in for an abysmal 12% on Rotten Tomatoes. That was matched by an equally horrendous “C-” CinemaScore – that is the worst audience score for any movie released this year, including “Morbius.”

“Everything Everywhere All at Once” continues to be one of the year’s big breakout hits, and for distributor A24, it’s now just $3 million away from becoming the studio’s highest-grossing hit. This weekend, it took in $3.3 million, which was down a minimal 7% from last week as it moved up to fourth place, showing that word-of-mouth for the Michelle Yeoh-starring action-comedy continues to be strong. This weekend also brought its domestic total to $47.1 million, roughly $2 million less than A24’s “Lady Bird” made in 2017 and 3 million less than the $50 million made by “Uncut Gems” two years later. Expect the movie to become A24’s biggest hit sometime in the coming week.

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Paramount’s adventure-comedy hit “The Lost City,” starring Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum, added another $1.7 million this weekend to take seventh place as it edges closer to $100 million. It’s another great example of how female-targeted counter-programming can continue to do decent business when there aren’t many other alternatives.

The Skit Guys’ comedy “Family Camp” opened in 855 theaters and just got into the top 10 at #9 with $1.4 million or $1,661 per theater.

This weekend will be a bit of a game-buster for Gold Derby’s box office prediction game. All but one player had “Doctor Strange” winning its second weekend, but almost 75% of players had it making more than $75 million in its second weekend. About the same number had “Firestarter” taking second place this weekend, and only five players had it opening in fourth place, which means there will only be five (or less) possible players going six-for-six this weekend. (The majority had “Everything Everywhere” taking fifth place after that movie has thrown off many players’ predictions over the past month.)

On Friday, Focus Features releases “Downton Abbey: A New Era” while A24 releases Alex Garland’s horror film “Men,” so check back on Wednesday for my thoughts on how they might fare next weekend.

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