Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and More in This Week's MPAA Ratings Bulletin

By Chris Kavan - 04/13/22 at 10:59 AM CT

While there is, once again, only one major film n the MPAA Ratings Bulletin it's going to be one of the biggest films of the year, so I'll let it slide. Over at the box office, Sonic 2 sped its way to a video game-best opening while Michael Bay's Ambulence turned out to be a lemon and Morbius dropped like a stone.

On the box office front, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 made history with its impressive $72.1 million opening, putting it squarely atop the pile of video game adaptations. It easily topped the opening of the original Sonic ($58 million) as well as this year's pretty well-received Uncharted ($51.3 million - over a holiday). If the last few years are any indication, video games have risen above the early stigma and delivered solid hit after solid hit - also including the likes of Detective Pikachu, Mortal Kombat and the new Tomb Raider. Critics gave the film a solid - not glowing - 67% positive Rotten Tomatoes score, but audiences were much more receptive, awarding the film an "A-" Cinemascore. The film features returning players with Ben Schwartz voicing the speedy blue hedgehog, James Marsden and Tika Sumpter reprising their roles as his adoptive parents and Jim Carrey as the manic Dr. Robotnik. Joining the cast are Idris Elba voicing Sonics new rival in the echidna Knuckles and popular voice actress Colleen O'Shaughnessey as new buddy Tails. The film is also a good indication that families are more than willing to return to theaters (and that maybe Disney was too quick to relegate Turning Red to their streaming service) and bodes well for the rest of the year. Sonic 2 also pulled in $70 million international (opening in some territories early) for a worldwide total of $141 million. Now the big question is whether it can unseat Warcraft ($439 million) as the biggest worldwide video game adaptation of all time. We'll see, but I would much rather have this film on top in the end.

After a big of a rough opening, especially when it came to critical and audience reception, Morbius didn't redeem itself in its second weekend out, dropping a precarious 73.8% and adding just $10.2 million for the timeframe. That doesn't bode well for its long-term prospects and I fully expect it to be out of the picture by the time the new Doctor Strange drops in May. The film has earned $57 million domestic and another $69.3 million overseas for a worldwide total of $126.4 million. Even for a modestly-budgeted comic book film that still has to be seen as disappointing.

In the third-place position, The Lost City dipped 38.6% and added in another $9 million for a new domestic total of $68.7 million. The Sandra Bullock/Channing Tatum adventure/comedy is still easily on track to top $75 million - and should ultimately wind up near the $100 million mark. It still hasn't hit most foreign markets yet (April 15th) so it's international total is just $9.7 million to date for a worldwide total of $78.6 million, but expect that to vastly improve by next weekend.

The other new wide opening, Michael Bay's Ambulance, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as a pair of brothers who take a wounded officer and steel-willed EMT (Eiza González) hostage after a bank heist gone wrong, stalled right out of the gate with a yawn-inducing $8.7 million opening. It's a far cry from Bay's hey-day of The Rock, Armageddon and "sigh" Transformers. It actually scored better with critics (69% Fresh) and the same "A-" Cinemascore from audiences as Sonic 2 - it's just that not many showed up. While the pandemic audience has largely been fueled by male audiences, it seems now the tables have turned and whether it's just more steaming options or just that Ambulance wasn't that big of draw, straight action films have been suffering as of late. With $22.5 million from overseas the film has a $31.2 million worldwide total. While the film carries a rather light $40 million budget, I'm sure everyone involved was looking for much, much more.

Rounding out the top five, The Batman managed to secure a $6.45 million weekend (down 41.3%) and giving the new darkest knight a $358.9 million domestic total. Combined with its $376.1 million overseas haul, the film has brought in an impressive $735.1 million global tally. The film is scheduled to hit HBO Max this week, so we'll see how that bites into the rest of its total.

Of note - coming in just behind The Batman was Everything Everywhere All at Once, the film that has been lighting up in limited release starring Michelle Yeoh as a multiverse champion. Adding in over 1200 theaters, the film jumped 461.8% to land in 6th place with $6 million for a new $8.42 million total. It looks like Doctor Strange will have some competition for the best multiverse film of the year.

Next week, Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore drops along with Mark Wahlberg's based on a true story drama Father Stu. We'll see if a waning interest in the Fantastic Beasts franchise can top a speedy Sonic this weekend.

MPAA Official Logo

The MPAA Rating board has been a bit stingy lately in giving us the quantity but at least this week we're rewarded in quality. Doctor Strange is back, and this time he's bringing us a whole multiverse that promises even crazier cameos than Spider-Man: No Way Home.

Originally, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was supposed to come out before Spider-Man: No Way Home but due to pandemic shuffles and all that, the webslinger got a boost and what a boost it provided. Marvel films have always done well, but No Way Home was not just a home run but a walk-off grand slam. It also opened the doors of possibility when it comes to the multiverse, which essentially gives the MCU free range to introduce any number of new characters - be it Deadpool, the X-Men, Fantastic Four and much more. While the Disney+ streaming series aren't necessary, it's also obvious that WandaVision and Loki may come into play, along with the Evil Strange seen in the animated What If... series. So what we have is after the events of No Way Home, Doctor Steven Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) realizes that opening the door the multiverse has come to the attention of other Strange variants - some with some very bad intentions. He seeks help from new Sorcerer Supreme Wong (Benedict Wong) as well as the Scarlett Witch Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) to help stop the damage - but even their combined might may not be enough to stave off destruction. The film features both returning players like Chiwetel Ejiofor's Mordu and Rachel McAdams as Strange's love interest Dr. Christine Palmer as well as the introduction of new ones like Xochitl Gomez's American Chavez (who, true to come book canon, looks to the MCU's first major gay character). But those are known - the biggest rumors still surrounding this Multiverse of Madness is what characters are going to show up in big or small cameos. Patrick Stewart has been confirmed to reprise his role of Professor X - part of the Illuminati, a powerful secret society of sorts that keeps the core world in check. But rumors about as to who else will show from Hayley Atwell's Captain Carter (also first seen in What If...) to Ryan Reynolds Deadpool to Tom Cruise as an alternate version of Captain America and many, many, many more speculations as to who might pop in. Like No Way Home, I have attempted to avoid as many spoilers as possible but it's also fun to see what people come up with. Even if this isn't as big as No Way Home, I have a feeling the MCU is going to hit another one out of the park. Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, frightening images and some language.

That's the major film for this week, but you can check out the full MPAA Ratings Bulletin below:

1UP

Rated R for sexual material, some language and drug use. (Intends to appeal)


ALL THE LORD'S MEN

Rated R for language throughout and some sexual content.


AM I OK?

Rated R for language, sexual references and some drug use.


AMERICAN CARNAGE

Rated R for some disturbing violence and gore, language throughout, some sexual references, nudity and drug use.


ANYTHING'S POSSIBLE

Rated PG-13 for strong language, thematic material, sexual material and brief teen drinking.


DOCTOR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, frightening images and some language.


GAMESTOP: RISE OF THE PLAYERS

Rated R for language throughout and brief drug use.


NEON LIGHTS

Rated R for violence, language, some sexual content and drug use.


PIL'S ADVENTURES

Rated PG for violence, peril and rude humor.


THE SIEGE OF ROBIN HOOD

Rated R for bloody violence.


THERE ARE NO SAINTS

Rated R for strong and disturbing violence, language throughout, sexual content, nudity and some drug use.

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