Marvel's "Doctor Strange" has raked in $86 million in its international debut in 33 markets, surpassing initial box office projections.
Deadline breaks down the numbers, noting that Scott Derrickson's film opened 49 percent ahead of "Ant-Man," 37 percent ahead of "Guardians of the Galaxy," 23 percent head of "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" and 1 percent head of "Thor: The Dark World" in those same territories (and using today's exchange rates).
Obviously that's good news for Disney and Marvel Studios ahead of "Doctor Strange's" arrival in North America on Friday, particularly given that the character is hardly a household name.
The film is already a certified hit in South Korea, where its $18.1 million opening is the biggest for any Marvel release there, and surpasses the lifetime totals of not only "Guardians of the Galaxy" but also Warner Bros.' "Man of Steel," "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" and "Suicide Squad."
With its reality- and universe-twisting special effects, "Doctor Strange" performed particularly well in IMAX theaters, earning $7.8 million to become IMAX's all-time biggest October international opening.
Early projections place the film on a course to gross as high as $75 million when it arrives next weekend in North American theaters. It will also open in China, Brazil, Japan and Russia over the next week.
"Doctor Strange" tells the story of world-famous neurosurgeon Stephen Strange, whose life changes forever after a career-ending car accident robs him of the use of his hands. When traditional medicine fails him, he's forced to look for healing, and hope, in an unlikely place — a mysterious enclave known as Kamar-Taj. He quickly learns that this is not just a center for healing but also the front line of a battle against unseen dark forces bent on destroying our reality. Before long Strange — armed with newly acquired magical powers — is forced to choose whether to return to his life of fortune and status or leave it all behind to defend the world as the most powerful sorcerer in existence.
Opening Friday in North America, "Doctor Strange" stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, Michael Stuhlbarg, Benjamin Bratt, Scott Adkins, Mads Mikkelsen and Tilda Swinton.