‘Doctor Strange’ stays atop box office as ‘Top Gun’ looms

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Doctor Strange and His Multiverse may have lingered a little longer at the weekend box office as Tom Cruise and “Top Gun” wait in the wings.

Marvel’s ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ was the weekend’s highest-grossing movie for the third week in a row, grossing $31.6 million in 4,534 North American theaters, according to studio estimates released Sunday. .

“Downtown Abbey: A New Era” made a strong debut for Focus Features with $16 million from 3,820 theaters, but there was no real blockbuster competition for “Doctor Strange.”

“This movie had a pretty open market,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for Comscore. “This weekend really is, it’s the proverbial calm before the storm.”

That storm will come in the form of the long-awaited and long-delayed release of “Top Gun: Maverick,” the sequel arriving next week over Memorial Day weekend, 36 years after the original hit and cultural landmark. .

It flies amidst a dizzying hype.

“The marketing of this film has been going on for about three years.” said Dergarabedian. “It’s a long enough track to create excitement.”

Cruise rocked the film festival in Cannes, France, on Wednesday with a whirlwind appearance for the film’s European premiere that included a flyby of French fighter jets and an honorary Palme d’Or.

“Top Gun” represents two phenomena that seem to be fading – the big movie star and the big-screen-only experience, for which Cruise has been a tireless ambassador. And the industry hopes they’ll help bring a more familiar summer to theaters.

“This is going to be one of the most important Memorial Day weekends, given the stakes,” Dergarabedian said. “We haven’t had a traditional summer movie season for two years.”

Before the pandemic, the summer box office season typically grossed over $4 billion a year. After a virtually non-existent 2020, the 2021 take, in a recovery year, was $1.75 billion. This year’s film slate, which also includes “Jurassic World Dominion” and “Thor: Love and Thunder,” could double that, Dergarabedian said.

But while the world waits, ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ broke the $800 million mark in worldwide grossing, surpassing ‘The Batman’ to become the highest-grossing film of the year.

Released by Walt Disney Co. and directed by Sam Raimi, “Doctor Strange 2” benefited from being the first Marvel movie to follow “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” in which Benedict Cumberbatch’s wizard played a pivotal role. .

It also builds on the popular Disney+ series “Wandavision” and contains a number of cameos that fans didn’t want to spoil.

Holdover family films “The Bad Guys” and “Sonic the Hedgehog 2″ took third and fourth place. Universal’s “The Bad Guys” added $6.1 million in its fifth week. “Sonic 2” grossed $3.9 million in its seventh.

Director Alex Garland’s folk horror thriller “Men” has grossed $3.3 million for production and distribution company A24.

Meanwhile, “Everything Everywhere All At Once” is still going strong even after nine weeks of release. The A24 movie took in an additional $3.3 million, down just 6% from the previous weekend, bringing its total box office receipts to $47 million.

Estimated Friday-Sunday ticket sales at US and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. Final national figures will be released on Monday.

1. “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” $31.6 million.

2. “Downtown Abbey: A New Era,” $16 million.

3. “The Bad Guys,” $6.1 million.

4. “Sonic the Hedgehog 2,” $3.9 million.

5. “Men”, $3.3 million.

6. “Everything, everywhere, all at once”, $3.1 million.

7. ‘Fantastic Beasts: Dumbledore’s Secrets’, $1.9 million.

8. “Firestarter”, $1.9 million.

9. “The Lost City,” $1.5 million.

10. “The Northman,” $1 million.

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Follow AP Entertainment writer Andrew Dalton on Twitter: https://twitter.com/andyjamesdalton

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