Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania

‘Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’ Delivers Marvel Studios a Cautionary Box Office Victory

The threequel debuted significantly ahead of the first two installments in the stand-alone series, although it maintains a recent pattern of decreased audience CinemaScores for MCU films after a 21-movie winning run.

 

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, directed by Peyton Reed, did not disappoint in its domestic box office premiere, flying to a four-day opening of $120 million, one of the strongest showings ever for the Presidents Day holiday and by far the biggest start for Marvel’s low-key franchise.

Yet, the third installment of the Paul Rudd-Evangeline Lilly series is a cautionary win for Marvel Studios and Disney, which are at a crossroads as Marvel begins Phase 5, and conquering hero Bob Iger returns as Walt Disney Co. CEO. With a 47 percent rating, the picture is tied for Marvel’s lowest Rotten Tomatoes score alongside Eternals (2021), and perhaps more tellingly, it received a B CinemaScore from viewers, one of the few Marvel titles to do so.

 

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, directed by Peyton Reed, did not disappoint in its domestic box office premiere, flying to a four-day opening of $120 million, one of the greatest showings for the Presidents Day holiday and by far the biggest start for Marvel’s low-key franchise.

Yet, the third edition of the Paul Rudd-Evangeline Lilly trilogy is a cautionary win for Marvel Studios and Disney, which are at a key moment as Marvel begins Phase 5, and conquering hero Bob Iger returns as Walt Disney Co. CEO. With a 47 percent rating, the picture is tied with Eternals (2021) for Marvel’s lowest Rotten Tomatoes score, and perhaps more tellingly, it received a B CinemaScore from viewers, one of the few Marvel titles to do so.

 

Kevin Feige’s Marvel Studios has been the envy of Hollywood since the original Iron Man ushered in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2008. With more than $28.5 billion in worldwide ticket sales, the MCU is the highest-grossing film franchise of all time, driven by the blockbuster Avengers movie.

Throughout the years, MCU films have virtually always had high CinemaScore ratings, with nearly 70% of titles receiving an A CinemaScore or some variation thereof (A+, A, and A-).

That has shifted in recent years. Four of the five films with a B or a B+ (none with a B- or below) are among Marvel’s most recent six releases. Quantumania and Eternals receive the lowest grade of B, while Thor: Love and Thunder and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness both score a B+. (The original Ant-Man achieved an A CinemaScore, and the second an A-.)

Thor (B+) was the fifth MCU film to receive a CinemaScore in the B level. To put it another way, the next 21 MCU films after Thor were all rated A.

It’s a troubling statistic that comes after Marvel launched a mind-boggling 18 projects theatrically and on streaming during Phase 4, which lasted from 2021 to 22.

“You should be concerned about Marvel franchise weariness,” one rival studio executive warns.

Marvel is taking steps to slow down its output as Phase 5 begins in earnest, putting The Marvels out of July and into November, and spreading out its TV projects.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will be released on May 2.

The Las Vegas-based business surveys select cinemas across the country on a Friday night, but the score is still closely monitored by Hollywood studios. A more recent invention, PostTrak, polls hundreds of cinemas across the country. According to individuals with access to the data, Ant-Man 3 had strong exit scores on PostTrak. Yet its Rotten Tomatoes audience score is the same as the prior two films, at 80 percent, compared to 84 percent for the first chapter and 85 percent for the second.

The key test will be how much money the film makes in its second weekend. Thor: Love and Thunder dropped roughly 68 percent after receiving a B+ CinemaScore last summer.

According to ComScore box office analyst Paul Dergarbedian, “despite the many objections about the execution of Phase 4,” fans wanted to witness “the first step on the route for Phase 5 and hopes for even better and larger things to come for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.”

The Quantumania promotion centred on Jonathan Majors’ villain Kang, encouraging spectators to “see the dawn of a new dynasty” – an allusion to the Kang-focused Avengers: The Kang Dynasty, which is set to release on May 2, 2025. Majors was regarded as the film’s high point, winning over both viewers and critics.

A fourth Ant-Man film isn’t out of the question, and rival studio executives believe Ant-Man 3 might gross $700 million worldwide (one sore place is China, where it debuted to a disappointing $19.2 million). The first Ant-Man opened to $57.2 million domestically over its first three days in 2015, the lowest start of any MCU product, on its way to $519.3 million globally. Three years later, Ant-Man and the Wasp grossed $75.8 million in North America before reaching a global total of $622.7 million. The three-day total for Quantumania was $105.5 million, an almost 40% increase over its predecessor.

While Quantumania may not have been a hit with critics, the turnout demonstrates that unfavourable reviews did not prevent people from attending.

“Although critical success is nice, it’s secondary to what the broader consumer base paying for movie tickets thinks,” says Boxoffice Pro’s chief analyst Shawn Robbins. “It may be more true for a family-friendly film like this.”

 

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