Tilda Swinton
Good thing the producers of the movie "Doctor Strange" did not cast an Asian to play the role of The Ancient One nor any major part or else it would have not fared well at the box office. Despite some pathetic lobbying and campaign to make the movie more Asian because of its Easter mysticism connection, the studio stood form and asked Tilda Swinton to play the enigmatic leader Sorcerer Supreme.

The result is powerful. It looks like Marvel has the hit-maker's magic touch.

Already, "Doctor Strange" has a 90 percent "Fresh" rating on the movie review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes after 70 critics weighed in. That makes it one of the top four best reviewed Marvel Studios film ever. Marvel and its parent company Walt Disney are no doubt hoping the positive press helps sell tickets.

The film has already pulled in nearly US$ 133 million in its first week overseas and took in US$ 9.4 million at the U.S. box office last 3 November. It is tracking for a North American opening of over $80 million range, well above earlier estimates, Deadline reported. That would put it roughly in the middle of the pack of Marvel superheroes.

The story about surgeon Stephen Strange's journey to become the Marvel Universe's Sorcerer Supreme falls into the camp of lesser-known comic book franchises. But as the space adventure "Guardians of the Galaxy" and superhero-heist movie mashup "Ant-Man" have proven, Marvel is able to pack theaters even when it uses B-list characters.

"Doctor Strange" is just starting though. BoxOffice.com is placing a bigger bet on it and projected that it will haul in US$ 80 million to US$ 95 million in its first weekend.

"It's a little bit higher than some of the tracking out there, but I feel like there's some upside to it, especially with the reviews. That sort of cemented our optimism in it," said BoxOffice senior analyst Shawn Robbins.

Trailers for "Doctor Strange" have focused almost as much on the visual spectacle of worlds folding in on themselves as they have on the story itself. That effect has given audiences a taste not just of the narrative, but the experience.

The previews have also given Tweeters something to post about. "Doctor Strange" garnered the most mentions in the final week of September on the heels of a new TV spot, besting heavy hitters like "Wonder Woman" and "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story," according to BoxOffice.com.

As of 4 November, "Doctor Strange" was once again dominating the box office conversation on Twitter, topping the charts with nearly 40,000 tweets. It also had the biggest jump in likes on Facebook, up by nearly 27,000 thumbs up.