Why Doctor Strange 2’s Box Office Surpassed Batman’s Total

Despite weaker reviews, Doctor Strange 2 beat Batman’s box office total, and there’s a very simple and logical reason for its success.

Caution! This post contains spoilers for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

by Sam Raimi Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness has now surpassed that of Matt Reeves The Batman to become the highest-grossing film of 2022 so far, and the reasons for its success speak to how important Marvel is to the film industry. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness acts as a continuation of the character’s MCU story, also following the events of Wanda vision and Spider-Man: No Coming Home to continue exploring the franchise’s thriving multiverse. Earlier in the year, The Batman saw Robert Pattinson don the cape and cowl to become the titular vigilante in a dark action-thriller that wowed critics and audiences alike, but ultimately didn’t achieve as much success as Doctor Strange 2.


Doctor Strange 2 marked the MCU’s return to theaters in 2022 and continued the franchise’s trend of box office dominance. Bringing Benedict Cumberbatch back as Strange and introducing America Chavez to the MCU, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness may not be the franchise’s highest-rated film to date, but its success speaks for itself. Having now exceeded The Batman – which previously held the 2022 box office record – Doctor Strange 2 is officially the highest-grossing film of the year so far.

Related: Doctor Strange’s Illuminati Members Explained: New Origins, Cast & Powers

Exactly how Doctor Strange 2 achieved, it is less about quality than about marketing. The MCU has established itself as the blueprint for any burgeoning franchise: a multitude of interconnected narratives that inform each other, all adapted from decades of beloved comic book source material. But The Batman shares a similar base, its lack of a place within a larger franchise seems to have hampered it slightly – at least compared to the MCU’s efforts. This made it possible to Doctor Strange 2the success of, although its reviews were generally less favorable than The Batman‘s.

Benedict Cumberbatch in Doctor Strange 2

The main difference between The Batman and Doctor Strange 2 is that the former is really a self-contained narrative. Doctor Strange 2 acts as a continuation of two of Marvel’s most beloved recent releases (Wanda vision and Spider-Man: No Coming Home), and also teased the expansion of the franchise’s larger narrative. Its place in the franchise allows it to continue popular stories, but also, by definition, to set up future films and series with its far-reaching multiversal implications.

The MCU’s reputation for new releases that usually contain exciting reveals also contributes to its overall box office draw. Doctor Strange 2 saw John Krasinski appear as Mister Fantastic (at least in Earth-838) in a great nod to the longtime fan cast and potential tease of his reprising the role in the MCUs The Fantastic Four. The BatmanRobert Pattinson’s place outside of an established franchise meant some were likely more inclined to wait for the film’s HBO Max streaming release to watch Robert Pattinson’s debut as the Caped Crusader, but trying to avoid the spoilers for Doctor Strange 2 will have done the opposite for the Marvel movie, helping its total box office in the process.

strange doctor 2box office overrun The Batmanis almost certainly the result of the differences between the two films’ respective franchises. But The BatmanPositive reviews from contributed to a healthy box office, its lack of ties to other properties meant it fell short of the power of the MCU. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness may not match The Batman critical reception, but it has already broken its 2022 box office record.

Next: Everything We Know About Doctor Strange 3

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