Doctor Strange and his multiverse got to linger a little longer atop 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 top-earning film of the weekend for the third straight week, bringing in $31.6 million in 4,534 North American theatres, according to studio estimates released Sunday.
“Downtown Abbey: A New Era” made a strong opening showing for Focus Features with $16 million from 3,820 theatres, but there was no real blockbuster competition for “Doctor Strange.”
That will change with the long-awaited, and long-delayed, release of “Top Gun: Maverick,” the sequel that arrives next week on Memorial Day weekend, 36 years after the original smash hit and cultural landmark.
It flies in amid sky-high hype.
Cruise had the film festival in Cannes, France, abuzz on Wednesday with a whirlwind appearance for the film’s European premiere that included a flyover of French fighter jets and an honorary Palme d’Or award.
But while the world waits, “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” crossed the $800 million mark in global grosses, surpassing “The Batman” to become the top-grossing film of the year.
Released by the Walt Disney Co. and directed by Sam Raimi, “ Doctor Strange 2 ” benefitted from being the first Marvel movie to follow “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” in which Benedict Cumberbatch’s sorcerer played a pivotal role.
It also builds upon the popular Disney+ series “Wandavision” and contains a number of cameos that fans didn’t want to be spoiled.