Is "Strange" a disappointment?…

It’s funny — NFLX has hit an inflection point in terms of subscriber growth slowing; and now, is the Marvel CU in danger of an inflection point?

The above analysis discusses something I didn’t realize was going on - word of mouth on “Strange” is not great. If the global box office hits $1 billion, it might not go too much further (that’s just my read, not necessarily that of the Deadline author, but I base it on what was being said)

There is an interesting anecdote about a cousin Vinny’s remarks on the movie (cousin to the author), a Marvel fanatic who is warning friends not to see the picture.

Has anyone seen this film? What did you think? What’s going on here?

As mentioned in the article, there could be some effect of the collapsed window, as in many might be waiting for it on D+.

However, one might think the domestic take would be higher than it is right now if the film were really good.

Nevertheless, models change, and if box-office has to take a hit to promote D+, then in certain instances, that might be okay.

Of course, probably the better benefit would be with physical release and that higher margin; obviously D+ has to be scaled up so we need synergy there, but I hope DIS doesn’t forget the Blu-ray market and digital rental transactions and physical rentals (via Redbox and wherever else).

Quite frankly, I think the ups-and-downs of the box office are simply what happens. We’re going to always have movies do better or worse than others that preceded. And I think box office behaviors are still in flux during the pandemic. Granted, one can roll their eyes and simply point to the “Spider-Man” film from December - film? how about phenomenon! — and criticize Feig and company for “Strange.” However, now that we are in a post-“Avengers” world (until they come back, I suppose), shareholders simply have to accept that there will be different grosses…what we really want to see is proper spending on talent, budget restraint, and storytelling excellence…along with more tentpole IP releases to increase odds of success (to that end, once Ford gets one more performance of “Jones” out of his system – and hey, I am looking forward to it - it is time to start looking forward to a new “Jones” actor and new films/merchandise from that world, maybe even spin-offs, and maybe even a remake of “Raiders”, perhaps as a D+ series if not a proper film).

Saw strange this weekend. Very disappointed in the film. 4 of us including one child (14).
So you know where we stand, we have seen almost every marvel film in the theaters, but that may be coming to an end. We have been huge marvel fans since Iron Man.

As we sat out front with other movie goers, consensus was that the film didn’t seem to have the same focus or fun of other marvel films. Sam Raimi appears to have spent too much time in the “Horror movie business” to realize Marvel is in the humor/superhero business. The graphic violence was over the top, and since marvel films aren’t like this typically, it was a big surprise and disappointment to us (and another family sitting behind us), and really ruined the movie. The film should have been rated R, so families would know ahead of time what to expect. For the first time, I have told friends don’t bother to see the film. If they still want to when it comes out on D+, that is a better idea. Really put a sour taste in all of us. Hopefully Thor keeps to the old mold, and goes back to just fun, like Spider Man-No way home. No agendas, no violence, just a great movie.

Dr. Strange is not as big a consumer products title as Spider-Man but I did take the Eye of Agamotto onto the cruise just in case the planets aligned and the ship was able to download the movie digital file through the satellite internet. They were and I got to see it May 5th in the Walt Disney Theater aboard ship with hundreds of other excited fans.

The movie ran 3 times in the big theater, then ran throughout the next day (Friday) in the Buena Vista theater as the final Broadway-style show was set in the main theater on the final night of the cruise.

Then today, I returned to the land-theater for a Dolby Atmos screening of the movie and it was just as good, if not better. Yes, there was more of a horror aspect, and a bit more violent deaths, but I also think that is in line with the Dr. Strange story. He is a character who has always been willing to tap the dark arts to serve his justification of doing good. That the story would take a darker turn was hinted at in first movie, and as was noted by a former medical colleague in this one, his decisions in the Infinity War were not seen by everyone as heroic.

More to the point, we see throughout the multiverse that Stephen Strange does not always enjoy the hero status he received on Earth 616. That Strange may be the least reviled of all the Stranges. In fact, I think the weakest parts of the movie were the attempts to soften Strange up, with his kid-glove treatment of America, or his self-reflection on the failure of his relationship with Christine (spoiler, there does not seem to be a multiverse in which he manages to make a relationship work).

I think the success of Spider-Man last winter and the role Dr. Strange played set the table for strong anticipation for this movie, and while No Way Home introduced the multiverse to the MCU, Multiverse of Madness didn’t really build on that movie and instead explored concepts of what it means to be a mother and relationships that never were. The concept also provided the opportunity to bring some much loved characters from outside the MCU in, though took a somewhat comical approach to their potential MCU futures.

The bottom line is that the predicted Marvel malaise has yet to be realized. Elizabeth Olsen is terrific, and maybe even steals the screen from Benedict Cumberbatch in her twisted portrayal of Wanda/Scarlet Witch, which of course picks up after the tragedy of Wandavision. And there are some crowd-pleasing surprises in store as the MCU multiverses converge.

Just as exciting, Thor: Love and Thunder looks to be just as fun. At the end of Endgame, Thor was catching a ride with the Guardians of the Galaxy (whose Epcot attraction opens in just 2 weeks), and the new movie appears to pick up there, though for a god without a plan, there’s no telling where the story will take him and us.

We also got to see our first big-screen trailer for Avatar 2 next December and a new trailer for the summer Toy Story prequel, Lightyear.

PS. Multiverse of Madness made $61m domestically for the second weekend, and $288 more globally, so while these won’t be Avengers numbers, they are still strong during a period in which many are still skittish about going to the movie theater.

Who notes the best part of seeing Dr. Strange in a land-based theater this weekend is that the theater was mostly full at 3:45pm on a sunny afternoon for the second weekend…

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