It's interesting to see what the Marvel Studios brand has become. While the studio has been criticized over the years for being a little too safe, too predictable, and for being too set in its ways, no one can argue that their methods aren't succeeding. Doctor Strange is the latest example of how the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is being piloted masterfully.
Over the weekend, Doctor Strange quietly hit a major milestone: The 14th film in the MCU became the highest-grossing solo superhero debut in the Marvel canon.
The film, directed by Scott Derrickson and starring Benedict Cumberbatch, currently sits at $616 million worldwide. That figure pushes it past the first chapters of all of their solo heroes: Iron Man ($585,174,222), Thor ($449,326,618), Ant-Man ($519,311,965), The Incredible Hulk ($263,427,551), and Captain America ($370,569,774). And here's the kicker: Doctor Strange has only been out for three weeks!
The success of Doctor Strange, which also scored a critical victory with its 90% rating on the aggregate review site Rotten Tomatoes, was applauded by an interesting supporter: The director of DC's Aquaman.
Yes, James Wan (Furious 7) took time to tweet this out to celebrate Derrickson and Doctor Strange's record-breaking run:
Wan made the jump from low-budget horror films like The Conjuring to a big studio blockbusters like Furious 7, and the parallels between his progression and Derrickson's aren't lost on him. "Congrats to [Scott Derrickson] for his incredible achievements, whose career I've admired and emulated," Wan said in the tweet. " From low budget horror to tentpole," he added. The parallels continue when you consider the fact that both directors who, up until now, are still fairly closely associated with horror flicks are now handling superhero movies for the two titans of the industry: DC and Marvel.
Wan is currently preparing to shoot Aquaman in his native Australia.
Derrickson responded to Wan's kind remarks about Doctor Strange's milestone with this message:
"Thank you so much James," Derrickson responded.
All of this is really quite notable when you think about how the lead character in Doctor Strange is relatively obscure, and sticks out like a sore thumb visually speaking with all of his over-the-top sorcerer garb. A film about Doctor Strange would've been a hard sell 10 years ago, but Marvel laid out a very meticulous, very disciplined game plan where characters that would've once been written off as hokey (sorcerers, talking raccoons, and guys in cat suits) can now come out and strike gold.
Doctor Strange is still in theaters everywhere.