SEOUL, April 29 (Yonhap) -- Upcoming Hollywood blockbuster "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" is expected to smash the South Korean box office as its presale tickets outpaced those of biggest pandemic-hit film "Spider-Man: No Way Home."
Marvel Studios' film to be released Wednesday recorded 410,000 presold tickets as of 9 a.m., five days before its local release, according to data by the Korean Film Council.
The movie accounted for 78.8 percent of all tickets reserved at that time, overwhelming the fantasy film "Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore" with 5.9 percent and the homegrown drama "I Want to Know Your Parents" with 3.4 percent.
The film's tally outnumbers that of "Spider-Man," which had 348,000 presold tickets three days ahead of its release in December. "Spider-Man" garnered more than 7.5 million moviegoers, becoming the most-watched film during the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak in South Korea.
Starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Elizabeth Olsen, the sequel to Doctor Strange (2016) is about Dr. Stephen Strange's adventure against a terrible threat that looms over humanity and the entire universe throughout the Multiverse.
It is the first blockbuster action film to be released in South Korea since the country lifted nearly all social distancing restraints including a ban on eating in movie theaters last week. It is expected to bring local movie fans back to cinemas.
South Korea is famous for its love of superhero movies, as many Marvel franchises have topped the local box office, including "Avengers: Endgame" (2019), which is the largest foreign movie hit ever in the country with 13.9 million attendees.