‘Doctor Strange’ remains atop box office as ‘Top Gun’ looms
Benedict Cumberbatch attends the NY special screening of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness on May 05, 2022 in New York City. (Photo: AP)

LOS ANGELES, United States (AP) — 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 US$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 US$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 fly over 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 US$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.

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

Director Alex Garland’s folk horror thriller “Men” brought in US$3.3 million for production company and distributor A24.

Meanwhile, “Everything Everywhere All At Once” is still going strong even after nine weeks in release. The A24 film picked up an additional US$3.3 million, down only six per cent from the previous weekend, bringing its total grosses to US$47 million.

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