“Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” the newest timeline-altering tentpole in Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe, captured a huge $265 million in its international box office debut.

Those mighty ticket sales represent the second-biggest opening weekend overseas in pandemic times. Sony’s “Spider-Man: No Way Home” still stands as the highest-grossing COVID-era debut with $340 million internationally.

The second “Doctor Strange” film, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the goatee-rocking sorcerer, generated $185 million in North America over the weekend, bringing its global tally to a massive $450 million. That ranks as the fourth-best worldwide opening weekend for a Marvel movie behind “Avengers: Endgame,” “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Spider-Man: No Way Home.” MCU or not, Disney estimates that “Doctor Strange 2” also stands as the sixth-biggest global weekend in history.

“Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” is currently playing in 49 foreign markets. The top-grossing territories include Korea with $30 million, the United Kingdom with $24.7 million, Mexico with $21.5 million, Brazil with $16.3 million, India with $12.7 million, Australia with $12.6 million and Germany with $12 million. Notably, the movie did not open in China or Russia, two major markets for MCU movies.

“Marvel sequels make over half of their money overseas and foreign was strong for the first ‘Doctor Strange,’” says David A. Gross, who runs the movie consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research. He says that 65.7% of ticket sales for 2016’s “Doctor Strange” came from the international box office. “With China, Russia and Ukraine down, international is going to be under pressure.”

At both the international and domestic box office, Imax, 3D and other premium format screens added to higher grosses for “Strange.” Across Europe, specialty screens accounted for 17% of box office returns in the U.K., 24% in France and 50% in Germany. In the Asia-Pacific region, 11% of ticket sales came from specialty screens, while across Latin America, 25% of receipts came from 3D.

“Summer blockbuster season is off to a roaring start with ‘Doctor Strange’ — an excellent sign for the phenomenal slate ahead representing some of the most bankable franchises, filmmakers and stars in the world,” said Imax CEO Rich Gelfond. In the coming weeks, movie theaters will make way for tentpoles including “Jurassic World: Dominion,” “Top Gun: Maverick” and “Thor: Love and Thunder.”

Sam Raimi directed “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” which picks up after the events of “Spider-Man: No Way Home.” In the latest film, the neurosurgeon-turned-Avenger casts a dangerous spell that leads him to traverse the multiverse to face a mysterious new enemy and alternate versions of himself. The movie also stars Chiwetel Ejiofor as Karl Mordo, Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff a.k.a. Scarlet Witch, Benedict Wong as Wong and Xochitl Gomez as America Chavez, a teen who can travel between dimensions. Michael Stuhlbarg and Rachel McAdams round out the cast.

With “Multiverse of Madness, taking up most of the attention in theaters, other movies struggled to sell a meaningful amount of tickets. “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore” collected $10.8 million from 74 markets, boosting the film’s tally to $277.7 million overseas and $363.8 million globally. The third installment in the “Harry Potter” prequel series has been far more popular among international audiences. In North America, the $200 million-budgeted tentpole has earned just $85 million so far.

Elsewhere at the international box office, Universal’s animated heist comedy “The Bad Guys” added $7.1 million from 64 markets, bringing its international total to $90 million. With $57 million in North America, the movie is just shy of crossing $150 million worldwide. Ticket sales currently stand at $148 million globally.

From Universal’s specialty label Focus Features, “Downton Abbey: A New Era” collected $6.5 million from 42 territories. The film, a sequel to 2019’s feature that served as a continuation of the hit TV show, has generated $22 million to date. Focus Features is opening the film in the U.S. on May 18.

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