The summer film season began as a blockbuster thanks to the film “Doctor Strange and the Multisworld of Madness.” The superhero extravaganza raised about $ 185 million in first-weekend ticket sales in U.S. and Canadian theaters, Walt Disney Co. said.

Not only is it more than twice the opening of the first Dr. Strange, which opened to $ 85 million in 2016, it’s also the biggest start of the year, ahead of $ 134 million at Batman; the second-largest pandemic after Spider-Man: Away from Home, $ 260.1 million; and the sixth largest of all time in the world.

Internationally, it is performing even better with $ 265 million since opening on Wednesday. In total, “Doctor Strange 2” has already earned $ 450 million.

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Spider-Man wants to be partially thanked for his massive debut. The powerful sorcerer Benedict Cumberbatch appeared in “Spider-Man: No Way Home”, which became the third largest film of all time since its opening in December. “Doctor Strange 2” unfolds a few months after the “No Way Home” event and includes Wanda Maximov Elizabeth Olsen, which has become even more popular thanks to the recent Disney + series “WandaVision”.

The film also has a giant footprint. In the United States and Canada alone, it is shown in 4,534 theaters, which, according to Disney, is the seventh largest show in history. Premium screens, including IMAX and 3D, accounted for 36% of total rental.

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“The summer blockbuster season has kicked off with ‘Dr. Strange’ – a great sign for the phenomenal bar ahead,” said Rich Gelfond, CEO of IMAX, in a statement.

The Hollywood summer movie season usually begins in early May and lasts until the end of August and – except for the last two years – regularly brings in more than $ 4 billion in ticket sales (or about 40% of the annual shaft).

Sam Raimi directed “Dr. Strange in the Multiworld of Madness,” which reportedly cost about $ 200 million, although that figure does not take into account the millions spent on marketing and promotion.

Last weekend, the film became a trend on social media, ranging from numerous episodes to a heated debate over the PG-13 rating and whether the horror elements are worth something more limited.

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“This is a complete victory for the industry, for which the last two summers have been almost non-existent in terms of box office,” said Paul Dergarabedyan, a senior media analyst at Comscore. “Marvel has been starting the summer for over ten years. It’s a return to normal life. ”

There are few films left that are going to cinemas. This is partly due to the fact that many multiplexes have decided to fill their cinemas with “Dr. Strange” wall-to-wall performances. Film critic Matt Singer tweeted a photo of manhattan amc offering 70 shows only thursday.

“Bad Guys” from Universal and DreamWorks Animation dropped to second place in the third weekend with a valuation of $ 9.8 million, and “Sonic Hedgehog 2” from Paramount took third place with $ 6.2 million.

“Fantastic Monsters: Dumbledore’s Secrets” ranked fourth with $ 3.9 million, bringing the total to $ 86 million. And in fifth place was another film on a multi-world theme, “Everything is everywhere at once.” On the seventh weekend, it dropped slightly, but is still gaining momentum along with an additional $ 3.3 million from 1,542 screens on the seventh weekend in theaters. The A24 film grossed $ 41.6 million.

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The success of “Doctor Strange 2” only helps build momentum for great summer films such as “Top Gun: Maverick” on May 27th.

“We have a real summer movie season in our hands, which we could not imagine two years ago,” Dergarabedyan said. “It’s been a long time.”

According to Comscore, the approximate ticket sales from Friday to Sunday in US and Canadian cinemas. The final internal figures will be released on Monday.

1. “Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” $ 185 million.

2. “Bad Guys,” $ 9.8 million.

3. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 ”, $ 6.2 million.

4. “Fantastic Monsters: Dumbledore’s Secrets”, $ 3.9 million.

5. “Everything is everywhere and at once,” $ 3.3 million.

6. “North”, $ 2.8 million.

7. “Lost City”, $ 2.5 million.

8. “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent,” $ 1.5 million.

9. “Memory”, $ 1.2 million.

10. “Father Stu,” $ 800,000.

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Follow AP writer Lindsay Bar on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ldbahr

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