As of this weekend, Spider-Man: No Way Home has made $792 million. It is the third highest grossing film of all time and undeniably the beneficiary of some lightning-in-a-bottle magic due to the fact that it hit at the perfect moment in our COVID-ravaged world. It seems like its specific success will be impossible to ever replicate, if only because of the timing of its release and the huge groundswell of hype over its—spoiler alert!—inclusion of multiple different generations of Spider-Man actors. Hell, The Batman is doing pretty well, it has the benefit of declining COVID numbers throughout the country, and it’s still way short of where No Way Home was after a couple of weeks.
And yet Benedict Cumberbatch seems to think the upcoming Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness is going to “have a success on the level of Spidey.” Okay, Benedict. Sure. We’re not going to criticize you for having confidence in your movie, that’s actually a good thing, but come on. He even added, “There you go, I’ll put my flag in the sand,” indicating that he legitimately thinks it could happen.
This comes from an interview Empire, and it almost certainly has something to do with the fact that the Doctor Strange sequel has some of the same ingredients as the Spider-Man movie: For starters, Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange is in it, and the trailer makes it clear that it’s going to involve more than one version of him and some mysterious multiversal shenanigans (is that Patrick Stewart’s voice or not?). Also, it was directed by Sam Raimi, who is often great, and he’s the guy who made the older Spider-Man movies that people (mostly) liked.
Is it really so absurd to think Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness will be one of the highest grossing films of all time? Yes, it is. Come on. It’ll do well, maybe even really well, but what No Way Home did was practically a miracle. Even if Multiverse brings in some X-Men characters, as people online are theorizing (not that that’s anything new), it seems hard to imagine that it will be as big as No Way Home.
We don’t have to wait too long for Cumberbatch to prove us wrong, though: Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness comes out on May 6.