Doctor Strange By the Numbers

With the countdown on for Wednesday’s Blu-ray and 3D Blu-ray releases of Doctor Strange, Marvel Studios has number-crunched these facts:


The iconic character Doctor Stephen Strange, the Master of the Mystic Arts, made his first appearance in Marvel comics in 1963.


The Blu-ray and digital HD release of Doctor Strange is packed with more than 80 minutes of never-before-seen bonus materials. Fans can look forward to behind-the-scenes featurettes, deleted scenes, hilarious outtakes, audio commentary, and an exclusive look at the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.


The first scene of principal photography for Doctor Strange was shot in Pashupati, Nepal. There were 300 extras, made up of locals and tourists, along with cows and dogs. The production had an audience of curious locals, as well as the many families of wild monkeys that freely roam Nepal.


The actors tackled FIVE weeks of stunt training in order to prepare for their energetic roles in the mind-bending movie. “The stunt guys were incredible,” reveals Mads Mikkelsen, who plays the villainous Kaecilius. “We had a preparation period of five weeks, which is where we learned stunts and the basics of Kung Fu. It was a long, long prep period with the stunt guys, but we gradually built up the muscles that we were supposed to use.” Want to know more? An exclusive bonus feature titled Across Time And Space will be released with the Blu-ray and digital versions of the movie. This 13-minute featurette which will delve deeper into the fight choreography and stunt training.


In order to transform into the character of the Ancient One, actress Tilda Swinton spent 90 minutes in hair and makeup. The time-consuming process involved hiding Swinton’s hair beneath a bald-cap prosthetic, which was created especially for the actress.


In 2016, Marvel released a video that explained why Thor wasn’t part of the epic battle between Steve Rogers and Tony Stark in Captain America: Civil War. The short mockumentary was titled Team Thor and featured a character named Darryl Jacobson, who shared a home with the Mjolnor-wielding superhero. Want to know what happened next? Team Thor: Part TWO will be packaged with the Blu-ray and digital release of Doctor Strange.


Doctor Strange mixes themes of western science and eastern mysticism, which strongly appealed to Benedict Cumberbatch. In fact, the actor spent much of his late teenage years researching these mind-bending topics. “I spent some time teaching in a Buddhist monastery near Darjeeling,” admits Cumberbatch. “I read things like Fritjof Capra’s The Tao Of Physics and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig, as well as studying Buddhists texts and reading up on certain scientific books about cosmology. I got to observe extraordinary ancient ritual and wisdom right in front of me every morning and every evening. My mind as a 19-year-old was really blown open by all of that, so this material immediately made sense to me.”


When it comes to deleted scenes, director Scott Derrickson admits they had little footage leftover. “Doctor Strange was never a long movie,” explains Derrickson. “The first cut was only 15 minutes longer than the final cut. I think it was two hours and 10 minutes – and there were only three wholesale scenes that were cut. Most of the edit involved trimming scenes down. The surprising part of the process is that what shrunk most was the set-pieces because there is not a lot of action in the movie in terms of quantity. If you measure out the action scenes in this, I’ll bet there’s less action in this movie than any other Marvel movie – but it doesn’t feel like that because the action is so visually strange and unusual.”


Despite the shortage of footage, fans can still expect FIVE deleted scenes when Doctor Strange is released on Blu-ray and digital HD. Marvel has finally confirmed the titles of these top-secret sequences: Strange Meets Daniel Drumm, Kaecilius Searches For Answers, The Kamar-Taj Courtyard, Making Contact and Lost In Kathmandu.


Years of dedicated work goes into the making of a Marvel movie like Doctor Strange. To help realise Derrickson’s vision for the movie, the art department created about 3000 concept drawings and 40 set models.


The final part of Doctor Strange’s epic crash scene – where the character is seen underwater in his car – was filmed at Longcross Studios in London. For the sequence, Cumberbatch was buckled into a section of the submerged vehicle. “I was in a water tank at 4am, strapped into a car, cut in half, being turned upside down, post the car crash, trapped inside the carcass of the car half-unconscious as the water was rising into it with a camera going underneath to capture me upside down. It was so surreal.”


An 8-minute featurette titled A Strange Transformation is one of the exclusive bonus extras that will be available with the in-home release. The featurette looks at the comic origins of the story and the epic car crash in the movie, as well as the casting of Benedict Cumberbatch in the title role.


Comic book fans were ecstatic to learn that Doctor Strange inhabits his archetypal Sanctum Sanctorum in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It took nearly 10 months to finalise the design and the details of the Sanctum Sanctorum foyer with five artists working on the design from start to finish.


The SIX columns in the foyer of the Sanctum Sanctorum were a unique design sculpted in plaster to look like wood and were 30-feet high. The mandala design in the foyer floor at the bottom of the staircases measured 30 feet in diameter and was made using medium-density fibreboard panels. It was finished to look like wood and marble with metal details. “I can’t wait for fans to pause the action of the movie to take a closer look at the incredible detail that went into the design of the movie,” admits Scott Derrickson.


It took around four months to develop, build and fit the oculus window of Doctor Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum. The awe-inspiring view of Greenwich Village seen through the oculus was a hand-painted backdrop, which took THREE weeks to complete.


Fancy a giggle? There’s a FOUR-minute gag reel included in the exclusive bonus features for the in-home release of Marvel Movies’ Doctor Strange. That’s four minutes of Cumberbatch chuckles and Mads Mikkelsen madness!


The Eye Of Agamotto is an iconic amulet in the MCU. It can radiate a powerful, mystical light that allows the wearer to see through all disguises and illusions, and into alternate dimensions. “There are four designs for the eye: the New York eye, the London eye, the Hong Kong eye, and also another version, which opens, and reveals the power,” explains Barry Gibbs, the head of the movie’s props team. “We didn’t just make four amulets; we probably end up making nearer 60 of them. We make stunt ones; we make ones which light up; we make lightweight ones; we make hero ones. The real ones we cast in bronze; the others are normally made from resin or rubbers.”


The Score-cerer Supreme is the name of a 10-minute bonus feature released with the Blu-ray and digital version of Doctor Strange. The never-before-seen featurette delves into the music and score of the movie with Michael Giacchino.


For a number of iconic scenes in the movie, the talented design team recreated a Hong Kong street set in London. The set featured 35 shop fronts, which were all based on real shops found in Hong Kong. This included restaurants, food stalls, dry cleaners, car mechanics, a watch shop, butcher and general stores.


When it comes to the mind-bending visual effects seen in Doctor Strange, the filmmakers continued to push the boundaries. “We just kept pushing forward and our amazing effects team, led by Stephane Ceretti, did a great job,” reveals the movie’s executive producer and president of Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige. “Scott Derrickson worked on the movie right to the bitter end. Until about 12.30am the day before we got on the plane to Hong Kong for the very first junket!”



Doctor Strange is the 14th movie set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.


A total of 21 practical sets were created for the movie 


Production commenced filming in Kathmandu, Nepal, in November 2015.


The iconic oculus window in Doctor Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum measures 14 feet in diameter.


The movie was shot  in FOUR locations: London, New York, Hong Kong and Kathmandu, Nepal.


More than 80 neon signs were created for a Hong Kong set built in London.


The Blu-ray and digital release include a 13-minute featurette titled The Fabric of Reality, which looks at the movie’s intricate set and costume design process.

Distributor Sony Pictures NZ provided this promotional material.

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