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Did Doctor Strange 2 Release On Mother's Day Weekend Purposefully?

Audiences took to movie theaters in droves this past weekend to see "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness," which made $185 million at the domestic box office during its first weekend, according to Box Office Mojo. The movie is already the third-highest-grossing film of 2022, sitting only behind its MCU predecessor "Spider-Man: No Way Home" and another superhero flick in Matt Reeves' "The Batman" as Box Office Mojo's top films of the year. In the "Doctor Strange" solo sequel, Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) resolves to protect multiverse-traveling teenager America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez) from Wanda Maximoff's (Elizabeth Olsen) deadly pursuit, as the Scarlet Witch seeks America's powers for herself.

Surprisingly enough, the new "Doctor Strange" movie appeared timed especially well to pair with Mother's Day, annually celebrated by many countries on the second Sunday of May. The film deals with Wanda's insatiable desire to live in a universe in which her sons Billy and Tommy — played by Julian Hilliard and Jett Klyne as introduced in "WandaVision" — actually exist. The revelation that in the MCU dreams serve as windows into the lives of characters' variants in the multiverse reveals that Billy and Tommy actually do exist in other universes beyond the MCU's original, and this serves as the main emotional throughline for the film. In some scenes, Wanda's dialogue can be interpreted as a direct tribute to the love and care mothers put into their children's lives, like when she asserts that all mothers use magic to create their children.

There aren't many Mother's Day films out there, and there certainly aren't many Mother's Day-themed superhero movies. So did Marvel Studios intentionally release the "Doctor Strange" sequel to thematically tie it to the holiday?

Marvel Studios originally meant to release Doctor Strange 2 on Mother's Day weekend in 2021

MCU fans won't find Kevin Feige on the record stating that "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" was always meant to be a Mother's Day weekend release, but that's not entirely out of the question. The movie fell victim to a string of pandemic-era release shufflings by Marvel Studios and Disney in the last two years, but according to Variety, it was originally intended to release on May 7, 2021 — Mother's Day weekend. In early April 2020, Marvel Studios moved the "Doctor Strange" sequel's release date to November 5, 2021, as it shifted most of its upcoming movies back in the initial response to the pandemic's worldwide spread (via The Wrap).

By the end of April 2020, The Hollywood Reporter noted that Sony and Marvel Studios moved the release date for "Spider-Man: No Way Home" from July 16, 2021, to November 5 of the same year, and "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" was instead shifted forward again to March 25, 2022. These changes reversed Marvel Studios' original plan to have Doctor Strange's first run-in with the multiverse happen in his own sequel before appearing in "Spider-Man: No Way Home." Somewhere along the line, the "Doctor Strange" film was pushed back again from March 2022 to its ultimate Mother's Day weekend release date, which left it exactly one year removed from when Marvel Studios originally intended to put it in theaters. 

There's an undeniable fact that "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" has a major focus on motherhood, so whether it was intentional or just a lucky coincidence, the final release date of May 6, 2022, feels very fitting.