Far easier to predict than a presidential election are the chances of a different prominent November candidate: Doctor Strange, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, should win its top seat handily at the American box office this weekend.

And perhaps the best bellwether so far occurred over Halloween weekend: Disney/Marvel's Doctor Strange grossed US$86 million ($119.9m) overseas, upon opening in 33 foreign markets.

That international debut, Disney told Variety, was nearly 50 per cent ahead of Ant-Man's early tracking and 37 per cent ahead of Guardians of the Galaxy - both commercial hits that relied on audiences embracing lesser-known Marvel characters, which bodes well for Doc Strange.

Amid that impressive take, Doctor Strange grossed US$7.8m from Imax screens - the highest-grossing October international debut for Imax, Entertainment Weekly reports.


And Strange has yet to open in such large markets as Brazil, China, Japan and Russia.

Surgeon-turned-sorcerer Dr Stephen Strange was created, of course, by the great Steve Ditko - and first appeared in 1963 in Marvel's Strange Tales.

The film co-stars recent Oscar nominees Chiwetel Ejiofor and Rachel McAdams, as well as Tilda Swinton (who won an Oscar for Michael Clayton) as the Ancient One. Scott Derrickson (Sinister and Deliver Us From Evil) directs.

Dr Strange officially opens on Friday in the United States and looks to continue Marvel's unbroken string of hits since 2008's breakthrough Iron Man.