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‘Downton 2’ Fails To Top ‘Doctor Strange 2’ In Weekend Battle of The Sequels

Even the strange sight of the lock-jawed Crawley clan frolicking on the French Riviera proved to be no match for the three-week-old Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness over the weekend as Downton Abbey: A New Era failed to unseat Marvel’s latest hand-over-fist blockbuster from the top spot in the battle of fan-service sequels. Landing slightly below expectations, Downton 2 debuted in the runner-up spot with a so-so $16 million while Benedict Cumberbatch’s superhero follow-up held onto first place for the third straight frame with a $31.6 million haul. Meanwhile, A24’s psychological horror film, Men, baffled audiences and bowed quietly in fifth place.

‘Doctor Strange 2’ Likely to Rule In Week 3, ‘Downton Abbey 2’ & ‘Men’ To Invigorate Specialty Box Office

After two weeks dominated almost entirely by Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, we get some new blood this weekend with the sequel to Focus’ specialty box office blockbuster Downton Abbey and A24’s latest with genre auteur Alex Garland, Men. Neither will have the sort of fireworks we hope for in May, and Doctor Strange should rule the roost once again in its third weekend, but there’s enough to keep audiences coming until Top Gun: Maverick swoops in next weekend and takes the top spot and the premium screens.

‘Doctor Strange 2’ Rules Again In Its Sophomore Weekend With $61 Million, ‘Firestarter’ Fizzles

A week after storming multiplexes with a superheroic $185 million domestic bow, Disney’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness picked up right where it left off, grossing an additional $61 million over its second weekend in North America. Not surprisingly, rival studios for the most part chose to steer clear of Marvel’s latest box-office behemoth—all except for Universal, which unveiled its Zac Efron-led remake of the 1984 Stephen King adaptation, Firestarter, and failed to produce any sparks in the marketplace, bowing to a truly scary $3.8 million.

‘Doctor Strange 2’ To Continue To Reign, Efron Led ‘Firestarter’ Unlikely To Spark

After dominating the box office last weekend with 84% of the entire weekend’s gross, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will remain the major story in its second frame. The Marvel Cinematic Universe film, which opened to $187 million, crossed $200 million on Monday (not to mention $500 million worldwide on Tuesday), and it is on the verge of besting the first Doctor Strange’s $233 million domestic cume. By the end of the weekend it should be past or very close to $300 million, with its next milestone being the $369 million gross of The Batman, the biggest thus far this year and the second biggest since the start of the pandemic.

‘Doctor Strange 2’ Kicks Off Blockbuster Season, Conjuring A Magical $185 Million Opening

While the calendar says it’s still technically spring for another month and a half, the summer blockbuster season officially kicked off over Mother’s Day weekend thanks to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ whopping $185 million domestic bow. With no new major competition (who in their right minds would even dare to go up against it?), the latest chapter in the hand-over-fist Marvel Cinematic Universe instantly became the biggest box-office debut of 2022, trouncing its cross-town DC rival, The Batman, and its $134 million opening just two months ago.

Doctor Strange Kicks Off Summer Blockbuster Season

The summer box office season is finally arriving, and kicking it off is the latest from Hollywood’s biggest moneymaker, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The franchise’s four 2021 releases made up nearly 30% of the combined domestic gross of all 2021 releases, and the total gross of those four films is just 10% behind the combined gross of everything that came out in the first four months of 2022. The extended universe’s success shows no sign of flagging with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, the first MCU release since Spider-Man: No Way Home shattered box office records in the winter.

‘The Bad Guys’ Holds Onto Top Spot With $16.1 Million While ‘Memory’ Hints At Liam Neeson Fatigue

Consider it the calm before the storm. With Marvel’s eagerly awaited Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness officially kicking off the summer blockbuster season next weekend, the nation’s multiplexes were sleepier than usual… unless, of course, you were a kid (or the parent of one). As the top five movies in North America remained largely unchanged from the previous frame—with The Bad Guys taking top honors again—it’s worth noting that the weekend’s three biggest grossers were all family-friendly titles. Meanwhile, on the other end of the age spectrum, Liam Neeson served up the weekend’s only major new release, Memory. But the action-thriller’s soft, eighth-place opening raised questions whether his once-loyal fanbase has finally grown tired of his “particular set of skills.”

Holdovers To Rule Against Neeson Action Thriller ‘Memory’ As We Await ‘Dr. Strange’

The past month was the year’s busiest at the box office with three of the year’s top five openers, and the past weekend saw four films gross above $10 million, a feat that surprisingly has not been achieved since last June. Things slow to a crawl this weekend, though, as we are one week out from the Marvel-in-waiting Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness which will kick off the summer box-office season. Though this week’s only new wide release is expected to open soft, there is still juice left to squeeze out of the current slate before the arrival of the first MCU film since Spider-Man: No Way Home. This may be the lowest grossing weekend since February, but a blockbuster packed summer is right around the corner.

In A Daring Box-Office Heist, ‘The Bad Guys’ Makes Off With $24 Million and A Surprise No. 1 Debut

Farewell Fantastic Beasts, we hardly got a chance to know you. In what can only be called one of the most daring box-office heists of the spring, Universal’s new animated comedy, The Bad Guys, stole the weekend’s top spot in broad daylight, making off with a hefty $24 million haul. The multiplex larceny came at the expense of Warner Bros.’ latest big-budget Harry Potter spin-off, Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, which nosedived to third place in its sophomore frame—an ominous sign for the long-running wizarding franchise. Meanwhile, two other new wide releases joined them at the top of the charts: the arty, mud-and-blood-soaked Viking saga The Northman and the Nicolas Cage meta-action-comedy The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent.

Animated ‘Bad Guys,’ Viking Epic ‘Northman,’ & Nic Cage Satire ‘Unbearable Weight Of Massive Talent’ Join Crowded Box Office

After four weeks in a row of big ticket releases opening above $30 million, the momentum is keeping up with three new wide releases that, though they are smaller in scope than the past month’s big releases, all have solid mid-range box office potential. It may not be enough to make April beat March as the biggest month yet this year (or to give us another $100+ million weekend), but the new releases should keep the seats in the theaters warm as we await the arrival of the summer blockbuster season in two weeks with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

‘Fantastic Beasts’ Opens With A Not-Quite-Fantastic $43 Million Domestically, But Finds More Magic Overseas

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore could have used a little more magic on its opening weekend. Strike that, make that a lot more magic. The third chapter in Warner Bros.’ Harry Potter spin-off saga debuted to a less-than-fantastic $43 million in North America over the long Easter frame—the lowest roll-out in the series to date. However, some good news came from overseas, where the wizarding tale has been able to conjure significantly more enchantment, taking in $150.4 million in its first two weekends of release. Bereft of any magic all together was Sony’s fifth-place finisher Father Stu,, the inspirational story of a boxer-turned-priest starring Mark Wahlberg. Despite the religious-themed film’s Easter arrival, it laid an egg with a $5.7 million bow.

‘Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore’ Hits Domestic Shores On Good Friday, But Can It Outrun ‘Sonic 2’?

AfterSonic the Hedgehog 2 dashed into theaters for a $70 million opening and gave 2022 its third $100+ million overall weekend gross, there is hope that the momentum keeps up this weekend with the release of Harry Potter spinoff Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore. Whether or not the film lives up to previous installments, this long Easter weekend should continue the hot streak from the past three weekends, which are all in the top five for this year.

‘Sonic the Hedgehog 2’ Soars With $71 Million Debut; ‘Ambulance’ Gets A Flat

Paramount’s kid-friendly follow-up, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, exceeded even the most bullish industry expectations in its debut weekend and blew past the box-office competition with a sonic boom thanks to a massive $71 million bow. The SEGA videogame-inspired sequel marked the studio’s fourth 2022 film to open in the top spot, while easily trouncing the frame’s other high-profile rookie, director Michael Bay’s action-thriller Ambulance, which stalled coming out of the gate, selling a surprisingly soft $8.7 million in tickets despite the star power of Jake Gyllenhaal. Sonic 2, which features Jim Carrey, James Marsden, and the voice of Ben Schwartz as its eponymous blue cartoon critter, had some big sneakers to fill. The first Sonic the Hedgehog movie opened to $58 million back in February of 2020 and went on to rack up $320 million worldwide before having its theatrical run cut short by the COVID pandemic (it still ended up becoming the third-biggest domestic grosser of that challenged year). Paramount’s own estimates for the new sequel’s debut weekend were in the neighborhood of $50 million. But Sonic 2 zipped right past that number and just kept going. Unspooling in 4,234 theaters, the PG-rated sequel scored a $16,789 per-screen average and seemed to click with ticket-buyers of all ages (who rewarded it with a straight-A CinemaScore grade). Critics were slightly less impressed, handing the film a 67% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While some may interpret Sonic 2’s success as an indication that family audiences are ready to return to the multiplex, the smash hit Sing 2 already seemed to prove that point. Overseas, where Sonic 2 opened in some markets a week earlier, the film has pulled in $70 million so far, bringing its current worldwide cumulative box office to $141 million.

‘Sonic 2’ To Sprint Past A Stalling ‘Ambulance’

The pre-summer semi-blockbuster season is well underway, with the past two weekends being the first time in 2022 we have had two $30+ million (or even two $20+ million) openings in a row. This weekend will keep the streak going and up the stakes as Sonic the Hedgehog 2 races into 4,232 theaters and is set to become one of the year’s top openers yet. Add to that next weekend’s release of Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, which begins its international rollout this weekend, and it is clear we are in the midst of the strongest slate of films since last October.

Spidey Spin-Off ‘Morbius’ Sinks Its Teeth Into A So-So $39.1 Million Opening Weekend But Still Snags Top Spot

All comic-book characters are not created equal. At least when it comes to their drawing power at the box office. While Morbius, the latest big-screen origin story to spring from Sony’s Spider-Man Universe (think Venom but with vampire-bat DNA), did manage to open in the top spot over the weekend, its surprisingly soft $39 million debut hardly qualifies it is a blockbuster, no doubt leading to some nervous suits at the studio who had dreamed of creating a menagerie of secondary supervillains and ancillary anti-heroes to challenge Disney’s MCU—or at least become the Pepsi to its Coke. Originally slated for release back in July 2020 before the pandemic delayed its launch, the film which stars Jared Leto as Michael Morbius, a scientist who attempts to cure his own rare blood disease by injecting himself with vampire bat DNA only to see it turn him into a living vampire, was clobbered by critics (who tarred the $75-million title with a 17% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes) and audiences (who gave it a woeful C+ CinemaScore grade). In its freshman weekend, the PG-13-rated title earned a $9,161 per-screen average at 4,268 locations. It fared only slightly better overseas, where it pulled in $44.9 million in its opening weekend, putting its cumulative worldwide box office at $84 million.

Vampiric Spidey Villain ‘Morbius’ To Bite Out A Chunk Of The Box Office, ‘CODA’ Gets Re-Release Following Oscar Wins

The month of March will finish with a total box office gross of around $575-$580 million, and more than half of that came from The Batman. That practically ties March with last July for the third best month since the beginning of the pandemic (after last October and December), but, beside the Dark Knight, it had little new content, save the late-in-the-month release (3/25) of the Channing Tatum\Sandra Bullock adventure/rom-com, The Lost City, to support it. Most of March's backup bucks came from February’s holdovers. While the month of April lacks a mega-release a la The Batman, it has what March did not, which is a steady supply of solid titles coming out pretty much every week. A few big franchise releases are in store, including new Harry Potter and Sonic the Hedgehog films, and first up is Morbius, the newest entry in Sony’s Spider-Man Universe (or SSU).

Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum’s ‘The Lost City’ Finds $31 Million In Debut Weekend, Unseats ‘The Batman’ From the Top Spot

Just when it seemed like the endless cycle of franchises and superheroes had eclipsed old-fashioned star power at the box office once and for all, Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum’s rom-com adventure The Lost City proved that there is still room for tried-and-true Hollywood A-listers at the multiplex (there’s even a Brad Pitt cameo). The Paramount crowd-pleaser—which appealed to many as a fizzy, modern-day riff on 1984’s Michael Douglas-Kathleen Turner classic, Romancing the Stone—racked up a better-than-predicted $31 million in its debut frame during Oscars weekend, finally toppling The Batman from the top spot after the Caped Crusader’s three-week reign.

Can ‘The Lost City’ Top ‘The Batman’?

The Batman crossed $300 million domestic on Sunday and $600 million worldwide earlier this week, and it will soon fly past the grosses of Batman v Superman ($330 million) and Joker ($335 million) to become the third highest grossing Batman film domestically behind The Dark Knight ($535 million) and The Dark Knight Rises ($448 million). The Robert Pattinson starring reboot doesn’t seem likely to pass TDKR, but ending up as the biggest non-Nolan Batman film is a nice feather in its cap, as is being the second biggest pandemic-era film. There has been little else going on at the box office this month, but after three weeks of total dominance, The Batman finally faces a formidable box office challenger this weekend.

‘The Batman’ Three-peats At No. 1, Flies Past $300 Million At Domestic Box Office

Robert Pattinson’s The Batman continued to soar over both Gotham and the nation’s multiplexes for the third consecutive weekend, taking the No. 1 spot yet again with a muscular $36.8 million haul that pushed the latest outing from the Caped Crusader past the $300 million mark in North America. Meanwhile some fresh competition from the lower-profile worlds of anime and indie horror finally helped to nudge Sony’s blockbuster, Spider-Man: No Way Home, out of the top five for the first time in three and a half months.

‘The Batman’ To Stay On Top As Horror Films ‘X’ & ‘Umma’ Open

The Batman has had the box office largely to itself in its first two weeks, and it will rule the roost again in its third week, likely to yet again be the only film to even cross $10 million. While the pitch black superhero reboot faces no competitors gunning for the top spot for another week, the rest of the top ten should be shaken up this weekend with a slew of small-ish newcomers entering into the arena. Horror audiences have multiple options with the wide releases X and Umma, and the limited releases The Outfit and Alice both have some buzz.
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