• Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness is one of the most expensive movies ever made, costing a reported $414.9 million.
  • Marketing expenses can nearly double traditional film costs, with bigger movies like the MCU requiring massive advertisements.
  • Despite its success at the box office, Doctor Strange 2 needed to make over $1 billion to turn a profit for Disney.

Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness is now being reported as one of the most expensive movies ever made, MCU or otherwise. Hollywood accounting can quickly become confusing, especially as costs can be tied up in all facets of production. Marketing and promotion can nearly double the more traditional costs of film production, and the bigger the movie, the bigger the advertisements. Given the size and scope of the MCU, it’s no surprise that it contains some of Hollywood’s most expensive projects.

However, UK law requiring studios who film there to disclose financial data to earn money back illuminates how big certain movie budgets grow. Forbes now cites the Marvel Cinematic Universe entry in The Sorcerer Supreme’s saga as carrying a $414.9 million budget. Originally estimated at around $200-$300 million, new filings paint a much more expensive picture for the VFX-heavy Marvel project. Notably, this number puts Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness 6.4% more expensive than Avengers: Age of Ultron. However, the latter made roughly its cost in profit.

Doctor Strange and Avengers Movies

Global Box Office Earnings (From Box Office Mojo)

The Avengers (2012)


Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)


Doctor Strange (2016)


Avengers: Infinity War (2018)


Avengers: Endgame (2019)


Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)



Every MCU Franchise Ranked By Box Office

The MCU is built on franchises and sequels, but Marvel’s various heroes haven’t all found the same level of individual financial success.

Doctor Strange 2’s Cost Shows Disney’s Profitability Problem

Doctor Strange using the Time Stone in Doctor Strange

Multiverse of Madness is an expensive film; much of that spending is evident in how the Doctor Strange sequel created 22 new universes and was filled with a visual feast of new locations and exciting appearances of new and old characters alike. Still, spending so much on the sequel compared to 2016’s Doctor Strange, which grossed $677 million, is hard to justify. After a series of billion-dollar grossing hits, even Doctor Strange 2‘s huge box office is only the 11th highest grossing in the MCU. That lower gross seems to reflect changing patterns in cinema-going that the studio must address.

Determining a film’s profit-making ability is difficult through any lens because so many facets are involved. A standard estimate, although flawed, is often gained by taking the production budget, adding the approximate marketing budget, and then factoring in a cut of sales between the studio and the movie theaters. The general result is that a film would need to make 2.5 to 3 times its production budget before earning profit. As such, Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness would have needed to make $1.037 billion to $1.244 billion before Disney would have seen profit, given its massive reported budget.

Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness
would have needed to make $1.037 billion to $1.244 billion before Disney would have seen profit given its massive reported budget.

By this logic, Doctor Strange in theMultiverse of Madness‘s cumulative total of more than $955 million and its place as the fourth highest-grossing movie of 2022 resulted in Disney losing tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars. After recent box-office failures like The Marvels and Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania, Marvel’s blockbuster formula may not be making as much money for the studio as it used to. Unsurprisingly, Disney CEO Bob Iger has recently set a new limitation on MCU projects to address the effects of over-saturation in the marketplace.

There are reasons to be dubious about Hollywood accounting in general. To this day, Sony claims that Men In Black has not made a profit despite being one of 1997’s biggest hits and spawning two sequels, a spin-off, and an animated series. The filings and the reported budgets are often tailored to be the best possible result for the studio, resulting in over and under-reporting figures where it is beneficial to do so. With that said, it is clear that Marvel needs to review their cost-benefit ratios to ensure continued success for the MCU.

Source: Forbes

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