Disney/Marvel’s ‘Doctor Strange 2’ Opens with $185 Million Blockbuster Weekend

Disney/Marvel Studios’ sequel Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness didn’t disappoint, generating a projected $185 million in North America ticket sales across more than 4,500 screens through Mother’s Day (May 8). Globally, the superhero actioner collected a whopping $450 million, and the second-highest North American opening since the pandemic began behind the $260 million generated by Sony Pictures’ Spider-Man: No Way Home last December.

Starring Bennedict Cumberbatch in the title role, Doctor Strange 2 dominated North American ticket sales, grabbing 84% of all revenue. The imbalance left the rest of the theatrical slate with slim pickings. Universal Pictures’ animated release The Bad Guys is expected to generate almost $10 million in its third weekend, bringing the domestic total past $57 million.

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Paramount Pictures’ sequel Sonic the Hedgehog 2 added a projected $6.2 million to up its North American total to $170 million, and $350 million globally after five weekends. Warner Bros. Pictures’ Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore added almost $4 million to up its domestic total to $86 million ($339 million worldwide) after four weekends.

Lionsgate’s Nicolas Cage comedy The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent took in an estimated $1.52 million across 1,331 screens in North America. Through Sunday, the film has grossed an estimated $16.38 million in North America.

‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ Continues Weekend Box Office Dominance With $33 Million Haul

Sony Pictures’ lucrative webslinger franchise continues to fire on all cylinders. The latest release, Spider-Man: No Way Home, again dominated the weekend box office (through Jan. 9), generating an estimated $33 million in ticket sales across 4,100 North American screens. The tally upped the Tom Holland-starring superhero actioner’s domestic haul to $668 million to make it the sixth-highest grossing North American release in history.

Through the weekend, No Way Home passed Paramount Pictures’ Titanic at $659 million, and Universal Pictures’ Jurassic World with $652 million. The movie is just $10 million behind No. 5 Disney/Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War at $678 million. No Way Home has generated more than $1.5 billion in global ticket sales.

Meanwhile, Universal’s animated musical Sing 2 generated around $12 million across more than 3,700 screens to push its North American tally to $100 million — equaling Disney’s Frozen 2 in 2019.

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Finally, Universal’s new female-driven actioner, The 355, met its modest predictions, generating about $5 million across more than 3,000 screens. Co-starring Jessica Chastain, Sebastian Stan, Penélope Cruz, Diane Kruger, and Luptia Nyong’o, the movie is set to hit retail channels, including premium VOD, on Jan. 23, and on Peacock Feb. 20, as part of Universal’s shortened box office strategy.

‘Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’ Tops Weekly U.K. Home Entertainment Chart

It was a good week for sales of DVD and Blu-ray Disc in the United Kingdom.

Disney/Marvel Studios’ Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings fought off the competition to finish atop this week’s Official Film Chart in the U.K. through Nov. 24.

The film outsold the combined total of previous chart toppers Warner’s The Suicide Squad (No. 2) and Paramount Home Entertainment’s Paw Patrol: The Movie (No. 3) this week, following its release on DVD and Blu-ray Disc — with 78% of its total sales made up of packaged media.

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Meanwhile, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment’s The Grinch (2018) climbed two spots to No. 4, the first of two winter holiday chart entries with Warner’s Elf at No. 10.

Paramount’s Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins returned to the chart following its release on disc, climbing nine spots at No. 5. Universal’s F9: The Fast Saga and Disney/Marvel’s Black Widow each dropped two spots at No. 6 and No. 7, respectively, and Warner’s magical boxed set Harry Potter: The Complete Collection floated up one spot to No. 8 as consumers continue to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the first film.

Finally, Disney’s Jungle Cruise drifted down two spots to No. 9.

The Official Film Chart Top 10 – Nov. 24, 2021

Rank Previous Week Movie Distributor

© Official Charts Company 2021

Weekend Box Office: Is There a ‘Ghostbusters’ Afterlife?

The 2016 theatrical release of Ghostbusters featured an all-female cast, mixed reviews and underwhelming box office.

For the pandemic delayed Ghostbusters: Afterlife, Sony Pictures Entertainment has gone back to the franchise’s roots with director Jason Reitman looking to emulate the family-friendly appeal of his father, Ivan Reitman’s 1984 original Ghostbusters, starring Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Bill Murray and Sigourney Weaver.

While Afterlife reviews have also been mixed, including a 66% Rotten Tomatoes social media score, the movie headlines Paul Rudd, who was just named People magazine’s “Sexist Man Alive,” and a young supporting cast entering the pre-Thanksgiving week when family holiday get-togethers often include a trip to the cineplex.

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When combined with the nostalgia surrounding the franchise, Afterlife should push Disney/Marvel Studios’ Eternals from atop the weekend box office results. Sony, which has only recently returned select tentpole releases (Venom: Let There Be Carnage) to the COVID-era box office, is projecting upwards of $28 million in opening weekend sales.

The conservative estimate falls below the original’s $30 million opener, as well the last film’s $46 million debut, but underscores the ongoing reduced expectations and realities in the current exhibition marketplace.

Warner Bros. Pictures’ King Richard, the biopic about Richard Williams, the tenacious father of tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams, has a strong social media score (92%), popular lead star (Will Smith) and strong crossover appeal beyond sports fans.

The movie is also concurrently streaming for no extra charge to subscribers of HBO Max as part of WarnerMedia’s soon-ending 2021 distribution strategy that some observers contend has undermined the box office of recent Warner releases The Many Saints of NewarkCry Macho and Reminiscent, among others. The movie is projected to open from $5 million to $10 million in ticket sales this weekend, which would put it behind projections for Eternals ($11 million) and Paramount Pictures’ Clifford the Big Red Dog ($9 million) — the latter also streaming for subscribers on Paramount+.

‘Shang-Chi’ and the Legend of Two Weekend Box Office ‘Rings’

Disney/Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings continued its reign at the domestic weekend box office, generating a projected $35.8 million in revenue through Sept. 12. The Asian-American-led actioner has tallied $145 million at North American screens ($257.6 million globally).

Runner-up: Disney-owned 20th Century Studios release Free Guy, starring Ryan Reynolds, which generated $5.8 million across 3,650 screens in its fifth week of release. The action comedy has now topped $100 million at the domestic box office.

The final podium spot went to Warner Bros. Pictures’ new release Malignant, which generated $5.57 million across 3,485 screens. The disappointing box office likely undermined by the movie’s concurrent availability to HBO Max subscribers.

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Universal Pictures’ horror film Candyman generated $4.8 million ($48 million total) in its third weekend, followed by Disney’s Jungle Cruise with $2.1 million ($109.7 million) after seven weeks of release.

‘Black Widow’ vs. King James in Weekend Box Office Face-Off

Superhero movie Black Widow goes up against Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James at the domestic weekend box office through July 18. James is starring in Space Jam: A New Legacy, Warner Bros. Pictures’ Looney Tunes animated/live-action sequel to the 1996 original Space Jam featuring Michael Jordan.

While the original generated more than $230 million at the global box office, A New Legacy is not expected to top Disney/Marvel Studios’ Widow featuring Scarlett Johansson in the title role. The movie has topped $200 million at the worldwide box office, including $100 million in the U.S. — becoming just the fourth release to do that in the pandemic era.

Other movies surpassing $100 million domestically include Paramount Pictures’ A Quiet Place Part II with $150 million, Universal Pictures’ F9: The Fast Saga ($141.9 million), and Warner’s Godzilla vs. Kong ($100.6  million).

An unknown factor in the weekly box office sweepstakes: a surge in COVID-19 cases fueled by the Delta variant, which has led Los Angeles County health officials to mandate the wearing of masks indoors, including in movie theaters, beginning at midnight on Saturday. It is unknown whether these and similar restrictions in other parts of the country will impact movie theater attendance.

The weekend’s other major newcomer is Sony Pictures Entertainment’s thriller Escape Room: Tournament of Champions.

Disney/Marvel’s ‘Avengers: Endgame’ Highest-Grossing First-Week Digital Sales in the U.K.

As expected, Disney/Marvel Studios’s release of superhero movie Avengers: Endgame is setting retail and rental records worldwide.

The title ended its first week (eight days) of release in the United Kingdom as the highest-grossing digital title ever with 335,400 downloads, according to The Official Charts.

The tally topped the previous record-setter, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment’s Oscar-winning Bohemian Rhapsody with 265,000 downloads.

Previous Avengers movie Avengers: Infinity War holds the third spot as the best-selling U.K. digital release with first-week unit sales of 253,000 in 2012.

‘Captain Marvel’ Soaring to Digital May 28, Disc June 11 From Disney

Captain Marvel will fly to digital in HD and 4K Ultra HD (including Movies Anywhere) May 28, and land on Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray June 11 from Disney, Direct to Consumer and International.

The home release dates were revealed during the May 8 espnW Summit NYC, at which Marvel Studios hosted a Captain Marvel panel.

The film, which has surpassed $1 billion at the box office worldwide, chronicles the origin story of the female superhero.

The release includes featurettes that highlight the transformative journey of Brie Larson (Captain Marvel) and her character’s impact on audiences around the globe; the influence of Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) on significant events within the Marvel Cinematic Universe; the pairing of directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck; the ongoing conflict between the Skrulls and the Kree; and the talent behind the feline named Goose. Viewers also gain access to six deleted scenes, director commentary, a gag reel, and never-before-seen concept art and production photography.

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The digital release includes two exclusive features, including a behind-the-scenes visit with the visual effects team and an inside look at the team effort that goes into an action sequence in a Marvel Studios film.

At the panel, Marvel also unveiled a new trailer.

‘Avengers: Infinity War’ to Hit Netflix Dec. 25

Disney may be leaving Netflix, but not without a parting Christmas gift.

The Disney/Marvel blockbuster Avengers: Infinity War, which has earned more than $678.8 million at the box office, will come out on the streaming platform on Christmas day, according to Netflix.

The streaming platform’s NX on Netflix Twitter account tweeted, “Oh, snap. Avengers: Infinity War is coming to @Netflix on December 25.”

Disney is readying the unveiling of its own streaming service in 2019, Disney+, which will be fueled by Disney content, including that from Marvel and Lucasfilm, which has the “Star Wars” franchise.

After helping grow Netflix with a streaming deal in 2012, The Walt Disney Co. in 2017 announced it would be withdrawing its content from the service to build its own subscription platform.

At a May 14, 2018, MoffettNathanson Media & Communications Summit in New York, Netflix CCO Ted Sarandos was asked about the impact of Disney going direct-to-consumer and the pending loss of its original movies.

“People always ask me, ‘Where you surprised Disney is going to go direct?’ I don’t know what took them so long, exactly,” said Sarandos.

Still, he said the loss of Disney content wasn’t much of a blow.

“[Our subs] watch [Disney movies], but it wasn’t particularly passionate watching and those films are widely available on a bunch of other channels,” Sarandos said.

Bob Iger Reiterates Disney’s OTT Future

When CEO Bob Iger announced Disney would cease distributing original movies through Netflix in 2019, he was laying the foundation for a proprietary direct-to-consumer ecosystem.

Speaking Feb. 26 at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom confab in San Francisco, Iger reiterated oft-discussed plans to launch standalone apps around ESPN (dubbed ESPN Plus and bowing in March at $4.99 monthly) and Disney (OTT in 2019) brands.

The CEO conceded technology and SVOD is disrupting the pay-TV ecosystem, with the aforementioned apps giving Disney an opportunity to “participate in the very business that is doing the disrupting.”

The ESPN service will also enable users to add out-of-market access to Major League Baseball games (MLB.tv) and National Hockey League (NHL.tv) matches for a premium.

“I imagine you’ll see that price rise for the augmented service. We have the opportunity to enable customers to buy seasons, teams, weekends,” Iger said.

But it is the Disney OTT service that is generating the most buzz and speculation. Calling the platform a long-term priority for Disney, the service will feature four-to-five original movies and TV series, in addition to theatrical fare, including Star Wars, Marvel and Pixar, according to Iger.

The executive expects to get a better picture of Disney’s OTT window after closing acquisition of 20th Century Fox Film Company.

“We’ll see how that goes and we’ll have a better sense of what kind of volume we can provide,” Iger said.

He said Disney currently has 11 billion-dollar movie franchises, with Black Panther slated to be the 12th – and exclusive to Netflix later this year.

“[We are] competing with ourselves,” Iger said.