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'Doctor Strange' conjures a big opening night as theaters prep for a vital summer

'Doctor Strange' conjures a big opening night as theaters prep for a vital summer



Elizabeth Olsen on her 'Doctor Strange' roleReplayMore Videos ... (16 Videos)Elizabeth Olsen on her 'Doctor Strange' roleWhoopi Goldberg goes off on anti-abortion advocatesLate night hosts compare SCOTUS draft opinion to dystopian seriesSee James Codren's emotional announcement that he's leaving 'The Late Late show'Ed Sheeran releases music video filmed in UkraineWatch: Rudy Giuliani revealed as 'The Masked Singer' contestantLate night hosts sound off on mask mandate decision Iconic prop from 'The Shining' can be yours for a scary price'I'm shocked I have clothes on too': Watch Lizzo host 'Saturday Night Live'Future of Netflix looks grim as company value dropsVideo of mom at Elton John concert goes viral on TikTok'It's insane': Johnny Depp's friend breaks down during testimony68-year-old composer plays wild 'Simpsons' theme song remix at CoachellaSquirrel from 'Ice Age' movies finally gets his acorn in farewell videoWhy Selena Gomez hasn't been on Instagram in over four years'Saturday Night Live' takes on Will Smith's Oscars slapNew York (CNN Business)After the pandemic pummeled its business, the movie industry is counting on a comeback. The good news for theaters is they couldn't ask for a better film to kick off the summer.

Marvel's "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" hits theaters this weekend. It's one of the most anticipated films of the year from Hollywood's most reliable brand. The film, which stars Benedict Cumberbatch, debuts in more than 4,000 theaters and is expected to make $160 million to $180 million in North America. Some industry analysts believe the film could break the $200 million opening barrier, which would make it the ninth film ever to do so.The film made $36 million Thursday night. That kind of start could create some momentum at a time when theaters find themselves stronger than they've been since the start of the pandemic."It's hard to overstate the importance of this summer"Read MoreThe summer of 2020 was a historical disaster for Hollywood. Films were scarce (if not nonexistent), theaters struggled to turn on their marquees and the US box office brought in $176 million, according to Comscore (SCOR).That's it. $176 million total for the entire summer, or $4.1 billion less than the summer of 2019, or less than what "Doctor Strange" alone could make this weekend. Last summer rebounded, but still lagged behind pre-pandemic numbers, bringing in $1.7 million domestically.The box office so far this year is catching up, but it's showing signs of recovery with hits like February's "Uncharted," March's "The Batman" and April's "Sonic The Hedgehog 2" leading the way.'Doctor Strange' enters the multiverse, in what might be the most insanely Marvel movie yetThis summer could potentially boost the good box office vibes even more."It's hard to overstate the importance of this summer for the movie industry," Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at Boxoffice.com, told CNN Business. "We've seen clear demand for a return to big movies in theaters, but this summer presents the best test so far."Robbins believes that the top earners of this summer may "approach or perhaps exceed pre-pandemic standards."Beyond blockbuster Marvel films, which includes "Doctor Strange" and July's "Thor: Love and Thunder," the summer is full of all types of films that could find success.There's "Top Gun: Maverick, the sequel to the beloved action film starring Tom Cruise, "Jurassic World: Dominion, the new entry in the dinosaur saga, "Elvis," a biopic about The King starring Tom Hanks, two notable family films with Pixar's "Lightyear" and "Minions: The Rise of Gru" and "Nope," Jordan Peele's latest horror film.It's not just about money"We're moving further away from a point when the pandemic alone can be blamed for under-performances," Robbins said. "This summer may demonstrate how much balance there can be as the industry adapts and improves."That's important not just for this summer's box office, but could play into the rest of the year too."Summer has always been vitally important for theaters and the success of these all-important 18 weeks sets the tone for the entire year's performance," Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore, told CNN Business. He noted that summer is "traditionally responsible for 40% on average of the annual box-office."'Avatar 2' debuts footage from movie at CinemaCon and gets official titleBut this year the summer isn't just about money, it's about symbolism.The pandemic is still ongoing and theaters have a long way to go before truly bouncing back. Yet, there's reason for optimism."The success the industry has seen so far this year is great news for theaters that have spent the past two years methodically and patiently creating building blocks of normalcy," Dergarabedian said. "All of it was to get to something approaching a normal summer movie marketplace at the multiplex, and we may be finally getting there."


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