After several years of fairly consistent $80M+ debuts, the Marvel universe is set to come back down to earth this weekend with a noticeably lower debut for this weekends Ant-Man, which is set to open with around $50M-$60M this weekend.
So will Ant-Man “bomb” this weekend like so many doomsayers of the box office are already questioning? No, it won’t. It has a budget of just $130M (the lowest yet for the MCU) and the brand is strong enough that even just appealing to the fans pretty much guarantees $50M at the minimum. While some cite the surprise success of last years Guardians of the Galaxy as an example of how Ant-Man could do, there’s a few reasons why it will likely fail to hit that level. For one, Guardians came out towards the end of a much quieter summer, and had marketing that sold it as a funny, exciting and original sci-fi comedy rather than a very typical looking superhero origin story. It was just weird enough to be exactly what people were looking for, and they showed up in droves. Ant-Man appears to have much less humor and is entirely selling itself as a Marvel property. It doesn’t help that Ant-Man appears to be a much (no pun intended) smaller and contained film, which has hindered it from reaching event film status.
Also opening this weekend is Trainwreck, the big screen debut for popular female comedian Amy Schumer. The trailers and other ads appear to be firmly in her style of comedy, and seems like a natural transition from her stand-up and Comedy Central show. Comedies have not been performing terribly well, and the semi-parody of romantic comedy style may put some people off, but Schumer is extremely popular right now. Combine that with Judd Apatow’s name and this has a solid shot of over $30M this weekend.
Overall, it’s probably not going to be a very surprising weekend in any ways. Jurassic World and Inside Out will probably do strong business in the top 5.
The only thing that might be interesting, however, is that Minions has a decent shot at keeping 1st place this weekend. As I said in my other article (The Big Picture), whether or not Ant-Man opens in first place is irrelevant as long as it scores a solid debut this weekend.
So where do all the fears of Ant-Man bombing come from? Well because it’s the first film in the MCU that could genuinely be described as a hard sell. The trailers make it seem as nothing more than a very bland and unoriginal superhero film, regardless of whether or not that is the case. The reviews aren’t doing it any favors either, with a so-so 77% on Rotten Tomatoes right now. It seems as though with all the circumstances, Ant-Man is Marvel’s first film to exclusively appeal to the fans, and that number will be seen in how many of them buy tickets for opening weekend.
The Bottom Line
Even without a recognizable character, Ant-Man still has the Marvel brand under its belt and little competition, meaning it should be opening to over $60M this weekend. Trainwreck is fine if it can top $25M.
1. Minions – $57M
2. Ant-Man- $52M
3. Trainwreck – $28M
4. Inside Out – $10M
5. Jurassic World – $8M