Doctor Strange 2 Was Played A Ridiculous Amount Of Times In One Theater

By Charlene Badasie | 18 seconds ago

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Almost a week after its release, Doctor Strange 2 is still dominating headlines and every social media site in the multiverse. While the overall consensus from critics and fans has been somewhat mixed, that hasn’t stopped it from being a box office success. As Marvel continues to expand its Cinematic Universe, the studio’s first big-screen outing for 2022 managed to get more than 60 screenings in a single movie theater.

On its opening weekend, New York City’s AMC Empire 25 was home to mass screenings of Doctor Strange 2. Thursday saw show times run end-to-end over 12 hours, Variety reports. But it wasn’t the only theater where Disney commandeered every available screen. Other theatrical releases were sidelined with limited showtimes for three days (or 72 hours), as cinemas from coast to coast devoted their locations to the Sorcerer Supreme.

Doctor Strange 2 was screened in 4,534 theaters during the weekend, making it the seventh-largest release in the history of the United States office. This trend isn’t exclusive to local theaters. Marvel is popular in every corner of the world, with fans racing to see their favorite heroes in action before the stories are inevitably spoiled online. Exhibitors are more than happy to meet that demand by setting aside most of their screens. In turn, this kind of saturation allows these movies to hit exorbitant opening weekend figures.

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As of May 10th, Doctor Strange 2 has grossed $201 million in North America and $278.1 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $479.1 million, according to data from The Numbers. However, only a few blockbusters get that kind of special treatment. Avengers: Endgame and Spider-Man: No Way Home received similar releases, dominating screens in every movie theater. Multiplexes were even kept open through the night to early morning to meet the high demand.

According to Variety, those Marvel releases still hold strong as the biggest and second-biggest opening weekends in domestic box office history. And it seems like this very unique strategy paid off once more for Doctor Strange 2. Having multiple screenings of arguably the most popular release of 2022 so far seems like a win for fans and the studio. But smaller movies take a major financial hit when this happens.

For instance, Everything Everywhere All at Once did well with its word-of-mouth marketing strategy. It even managed to earn an impressive $41 million in the process. But this film started gaining traction in its seventh week of release which incidentally ran into Doctor Strange 2. As a result, the Michelle Yeoh film lost almost a third of its screens. While most films start to see a decline in ticket sales after this long, the Marvel film did give it a push to the sidelines.

For this reason, independent films have always tried to stay away from studio blockbuster releases like Doctor Strange 2. According to Jeff Bock, a box office analyst with Exhibitor Relations, distributors will aim for launch dates far outside of the radius of tentpole films. Because everyone knows most theaters will be dedicated to those movies for two to three weeks. While it may seem a little unfair, major studios have the upper hand when negotiating theatrical rollouts. That’s just the nature of the movie business. And higher attendance means more snack sales, which is the primary source of income that keeps multiplexes alive.