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Tell Me How to Feel About Ant-Man and the Wasp’s Low Box Office Tracking

Everything about Ant-Man is small, at least by Marvel Cinematic Universe standards. That goes for the budget ($130m), box office ($180m domestic/$519m worldwide), stakes (it’s a family friendly heist film about orchestrating a break-in to retrieve Hank Pym’s intellectual property), and, of course, the literal size of the titular miniature hero. However, if we go by the box office tracking – which we really, really shouldn’t, but for the sake of argument… – Ant-Man and the Wasp isn’t going to be a significantly bigger hit than its predecessor at the box office.

The projection: an opening weekend of just $75m. Granted, that’s a 29% increase over the first Ant-Man’s $57m opening three years ago, but doesn’t that seem awfully low? I mean, a $75m opening is Thor: The Dark World territory. The Dark World! Marvel is so embarrassed by that movie they made a sequel which openly mocks it:

He’s so mischievous! Also, for the record, I actually like The Dark World.

You’re telling me Ant-Man and the Wasp can’t do better than The Dark World?

Even after Black Panther broke Titanic-sized box office records earlier this year?

Even after Avengers: Infinity War became just the fourth film to joint the $2 billion club at the worldwide box office?

After a year like that, how could the MCU possibly have any more momentum right now? Ant-Man and the Wasp is a must-see for everyone who wanted to know where those two characters were during “Thanos’ Busy Day in the Galaxy.”

No, box office tracking! You must be wrong. $75m? Nuh-uh. Not buying it. Now, if you’ll excuse me I’m going to stick my fingers in my ears and refuse to listen to any more of this nonse…

The Dark World came on the boards in Oct. of 2013 with $75 million only to end up with a $85m debut weekend. Logan came on the boards with $65m and ended up with $88m, and Black Panther certainly opened way above even the most optimistic of pre-release projections. Yes, a movie can open below the projections as well, as we saw with Justice League and Solo: A Star Wars Story, but let’s see how the reviews play out for this one.

What’s that you’re talking about, Forbes’ Scott Mendelson?

Ant-Man ended up being one of the leggier MCU movies three years ago, thanks to Pixels and Fantastic Four flaming out. It earned a 3x multiplier, but this time around Ant-Man and the Wasp will have to face a flurry of big July flicks (Skyscraper, Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again and Mission: Impossible Fallout). So, along with the whole “it’s a sequel” thing, I wouldn’t expect as strong of a multiplier this time out. Presuming a 2.7x multiplier from a $75m weekend gives the film a $203m total and a likely worldwide haul of $600m.


Ok. Actually, is that good or bad?

Truth be told, the only thing at stake for Ant-Man and the Wasp is whether or not Marvel’s 2018 output can top $4 billion worldwide. And a $605 million global cume for Ant-Man and the Wasp should do the trick in that regard. Heck, if it can slightly exceed the $232m domestic total of Doctor Strange (like a 2.75x multiplier from a $85m debut weekend), the three MCU flicks will end the year with around $1.6 billion domestic.

Got it. Ant-Man is still Marvel’s lower-cost, lower-expectations palette cleanser franchise, and its second installment is facing stiffer competition that might limit how much it can improve upon its predecessor. Don’t bet agains it exceeding the tracking, but, really, don’t worry about it. Marvel’s already grossed over $3 billion at the worldwide box office this year. They’re good. Hopefully, Ant-Man and the Wasp will be too, regardless of what it does at the box office.

And now, by law, I must end this post about Ant-Man and the Wasp with the following meme of an ant playing the drums:

You’re welcome.

Source: Forbes

Ant-Man and the Wasp is due 7/6.


  1. Well, let them track….what counts is the end result. I have a vague memory of there having been similar discussions when the first one was released and in the end, it was a modest success for Marvel. Nor would I worry about the other movies…Mama Mia addresses and entirely different demographic, and I am not so sure about the other two movies even being much of a success. And yes, I know I bet against the Mission Impossible franchise to my own peril. I have just the feeling that more and more people getting tired of watching Tom Cruise pretending that he is at least 15 years younger.

    1. Actually, the first Ant-Man came in below the tracking. It was supposed to open to $65m – it made $57m instead. But, as you said, what matters is the end result, and Ant-Man had some of the stronger legs in the MCU, turning into more of a word-of-mouth hit for the MCU than usual. By the end, a near-$600m worldwide total for a film carrying a $120-$130m budget is plenty good enough. Obviously. Or else they wouldn’t have made a sequel.

      Also, I’m not quite ready to bet against the MI franchise. That dude’s going to keep making those movies until he inevitably dies in an on-set accident, but then they’ll release it anyway.

      1. Yeah, I might be completely off the mark with that one….still, I think Ant-man offers something the other franchises don’t and should play well enough.

        I was more referring to the prediction that Ant-man would be an outright failure, not to the prediction for opening day…though I am ready to bet that they err on side of caution this time

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