The original Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness runtime was much longer than the film’s final cut. Building off of the multiverse storylines of projects like Loki and Spider-Man: No Way Home, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness promises to deliver more twists to the MCU as the franchise makes its way through Phase 4. The movie’s trailers featured the voice of Patrick Stewart as Professor X as Strange was brought before the Illuminati, offering a tease of what the filmmakers had in store. But before viewers got a chance to see the finished product, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness had an unexpected surprise in its runtime. In an era where major studio tentpoles are embracing longer runtimes (see: The Batman being 3 hours), Marvel’s latest is going in the opposite direction. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is just over two hours, making the movie much shorter than initially anticipated. Given the film’s massive scope hinted at in the trailers, the truncated runtime came as a shock to many. However, there was a time when the movie ran much longer.
Speaking with Collider, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness director Sam Raimi was asked about the runtime. He commented the initial cut of the movie was considerably longer, before they whittled it down to the final cut. Well, the first cut was, I actually don’t remember the length of it. It was probably like two hours and 40 minutes, and it slowly came down even though we did the reshoots. We took out material even though the reshoots went in. So, it slowly got down to about two hours and five minutes is the total.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ original runtime was in the ballpark of recent Marvel movies. Spider-Man: No Way Home ran 148 minutes, while Eternals was 156 minutes. Even the likes of Shang-Chi (132 minutes) and Black Widow (134 minutes) were slightly longer than Doctor Strange 2’s final time of 126 minutes. With Multiverse of Madness covering ambitious narrative ground (continuing pre-existing threads and introducing new characters/variants), an argument can be made the film might have benefitted from a longer runtime. It’s interesting the movie’s runtime went down even after reshoots were added, implying changes were made to consolidate certain story elements. After Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness has been out for a while, perhaps Raimi will elaborate on how the Doctor Strange 2 reshoots impacted the picture. It would appear a shorter runtime didn’t hurt Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Early reviews have been generally positive, with many saying it has the hallmarks of Raimi’s unique directorial style. Additionally, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is set to be a box office hit, with a projected opening weekend of $175 million. Shorter runtimes can lead to more daily screenings, so if anything, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness could be in even better shape commercially as it kicks off the summer movie season.