AceShowbiz - It's the battle of sequels at this week's box office with "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" winning over "Downton Abbey: A New Era". The latest Marvel superhero movie reigns supreme on its third weekend, adding an estimated $31.6 million to its domestic gross.
Domestically, the Benedict Cumberbatch-starring movie has earned $342 million. Added with its international ticket sales, the movie has crossed the $800 million mark worldwide, surpassing "The Batman" to become the top-grossing film of the year.
Debuting at No. 2, "Downton Abbey: A New Era" has a strong opening with approximately $16 million. Though it failed to compete with the "Doctor Strange" sequel, the second installment based on Julian Fellowes' hit period drama is still loved by its fans.
The movie earned an average grade of A on CinemaScore, the same grade as the first movie, while it received 85% positive reviews from critics, according to Rotten Tomatoes. Female moviegoers made up most of its audience.
"The fanbase for 'Downton Abbey' is very dedicated. We found that out after the first movie," says Lisa Bunnell, president of domestic distribution at Focus Features, the specialty studio behind the film franchise. "It's like going to visit your family." She adds, "The only way you are going to get older audiences to theaters is to offer them films they want to see."
Fellowes previously said of continuing the "Downton" universe, "You never know if more is going to be wanted. After every series, after the first film, and now after the second, each time I have said a heart-wrenching goodbye to these people ... and then here we are back again."
"The Bad Guys" and "Sonic the Hedgehog 2" are holdovers in the top 5, stepping down one spot each to No. 3 and 4 respectively. The DreamWorks Animation film added an estimated $6.1 million, while the "Sonic the Hedgehog" sequel brought in an estimated addition $3.9 to its domestic gross.
Director Alex Garland's folk horror thriller "Men" debuts at No. 5 with an estimated $3.3 million. While 76% of 154 critics' reviews are positive, audiences were less than thrilled as they gave the movie an average grade of D+ based on poll by CinemaScore.
Top 10 of North America Box Office (May. 20-22, 2022):