Home Columns Box Office Ant-Man debuts to an estimated $58 Million opening

Ant-Man debuts to an estimated $58 Million opening

Marvel's Ant-Man..Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) ..Photo Credit: Zade Rosenthal..? Marvel 2014

After a painfully long production process, Marvel’s smallest big-screen hero has finally arrived, and according to studio estimates (which could see some adjustment by Monday morning) Ant-Man is looking at about a $58 million domestic haul.

For what it’s worth, that’s the second lowest debut for a Marvel Studios picture, just shy of 2008’s The Incredible Hulk opening to $55 million and on the low end of Marvel’s projections for the property.

Ant-Man was always a bit of a dicey proposition for Marvel; he’s a little-known “C-list” hero, and while I doubt most members of the general audience know Edgar Wright from Edgar Bergen, there had been a certain level of tough buzz surrounding the production of the film due to Wright’s storied exit just before shooting was to begin in Atlanta.

Strangely enough, Guardians of the Galaxy was seen as an equally tough sell and opened in a worse month (August), yet it thrived. Both films had an “A” Cinemascore, the not terribly scientific polling of audience-goers who actually attend these screenings, so they were equally well received.

So why did Guardians thrive in its opening weekend (at $94.3 million) where Ant-Man failed to reach similar heights? If I had to guess, marketing was likely the key issue. It never seemed as though the studio knew how to actually sell the picture. Was it a fun romp for families? Was it a 20’s-30’s male leaning comedic affair? And Marvel’s last-minute attempt at stressing the connections to their shared cinematic universe with a number of ads to that effect didn’t really do the trick either.

That’s not to say $58 million is a flop by any means, because it’s not, particularly given Ant-Man‘s more modest $130 million budget (not counting whatever was sunk into marketing). But, this is a case of Marvel becoming a victim of their own success a bit. With each opening since 2010 ranging from $65-210 million, the inevitable film that hit below that was going to face some scrutiny.

It’s possible that Peyton Reed‘s newest directorial outing may find some legs in the coming weeks, and the international numbers are only now coming in ($56.4 million and counting), but as of now Ant-Man‘s “Avengers bump” is a bit non-existent it seems.

For the record, I don’t think if Wright stayed on as director it would have really done much, if any, better.

What did you think, readers? Was Ant-Man all you hoped it would be?




  1. It’s just a puzzle to me with all the properties that Marvel owns, that they would close this one. Inhumans, Moon Knight, Powerman, and/or Iron Fist, Hawwkeye, the list goes on and on, but any of these would have been better choices.

  2. I think this one will pick up more fans in the weeks following release. No, it’s not anything any of the standard fans have expected but there a lot more general movie fans who seem to really have enjoyed it. I’m betting that word of mouth will help boost tickets over the next two weeks.

  3. Edgar Wright’s previous comic book movie, SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD, was a box-office flop (despite its good reviews and acclaim by fans and film buffs). His name obviously doesn’t sell tickets, at least not to a mainstream audience in the U.S. So I doubt an ANT-MAN directed by Wright would have done any better.

    I can’t comment on ANT-MAN’s quality because I haven’t seen it yet, but I’m looking forward to it. At least it looks fun (and funny), and I’m all for fun superhero movies — as opposed to the dark and humorless DC movie style.

    From what I’ve gathered, ANT-MAN has more in common with classic caper films (like RIFFIFI) and ’50s sci-fi (like THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN) than to modern superhero movies. As John S. said above, it may be more to the liking of general movie fans than to standard comic-book fans.

  4. You know, we say Ant-Man should have legs, and perhaps it will…but I think the Adam Sandler-Kevin James starring Pixels may actually prove a roadblock for that happening. I know, it’s a horrible thing to think about, but I’m just throwing it out there.

  5. Just saw the movie and loved it. Would I have preferred a Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne movie that was more in line with the classic comics but as far as the MCU goes it’s a nice fit. I think $58 million for a movie about Ant-Man is pretty good.

  6. PIXELS looks like a bomb, with poor marketing. ANT-MAN was a fun caper film, with a charming star that works well for kids too. Hard to expect too much from a character that hasn’t sold well ever. I like that Marvel keeps mixing genres with these films–love to see a Hammer like version of Tomb of Dracula down the line!

  7. It opened at #1, maintaining Marvel’s streak. It’s making money.

    The bottom four MCU movies with the lowest openings are all solo Part Ones.

    I would not be surprised if, in Phase Four, Marvel releases only Team movies, and uses them as backdoor pilots to introduce new characters (as seen with Falcon, Black Widow, Hawkeye).

    This makes for better chemistry (as seen in Guardians of the Galaxy).
    It also avoids the Internet minefield of producing a movie starring a strong female protagonist… you can place them in an ensemble, and give them a few moments on screen.

    Single characters? Netflix. “TV”. More time (13 hours for Daredevil), less risk, better return on investment. (The Netflix deal? $200 Million budget for 60 episodes. $6 Million for two hours? (It’s about the same cost as Mad Men or Walking Dead.) Compared to… $130 Million for Ant-Man?!? (Yes, Ant-Man has lots of CGI, but it’s not much different than the Marvel Knights, it’s very grounded in gritty urban San Francisco.)

    Like the Netflix deal working up to “The Defenders”, any other solo series can do the same (See: They Fight Crime! trope), or cameo the character in one of the Marvel movies.

    If a story demands great special effects (Ant-Man, Dr. Strange) or action (Black Panther?), then push it through IMAX and Real 3D.

    Also, Marvel can use the movies to springboard television series.
    The credit cookie in Dr. Strange can tease Man-Thing and the Nexus of Realities. (Half of the episodes involve strange things in the Florida Everglades, half deal with alternate realities.)

  8. Shawn Kane said: “I think $58 million for a movie about Ant-Man is pretty good.”

    Right. I don’t think anyone expected ANT-MAN to do AVENGERS or X-MEN business. Some observers didn’t expect it to open at No. 1.

    A lot of people were amazed by GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY’s success, but GUARDIANS tapped into the public’s desire for Star Wars-like space opera; it filled a need as we wait for the actual Star Wars movie in December. ANT-MAN is more of a left-field hit.

    Interesting article: “How ANT-MAN highlights the sad state of Marvel’s female characters”:


  9. $58 million for an Ant-Man movie is just fine. $58 million for a Marvel superhero movie in a post-Avengers climate is a bit less so. That’s really what it boils down to, and it highlights that the Marvel brand won’t sell HUGE on its own. We didn’t know that up until now. We’ll see what effect that has on Doctor Strange (starring Benedict Cumberbatch, and should be an interesting test case for his popularity), Black Panther, and Captain Marvel. Does the expected threshold for a Marvel solo debut lower? Probably.

  10. Superhero movies are no longer the special events they used to be. Now they’ve become routine, and they’re going to become even more routine. If Marvel and DC follow through on their plans, there will be a new superhero movie almost every month. They’ll be as mundane as Westerns or whodunits were in earlier decades.

  11. “PIXELS looks like a bomb, with poor marketing.”

    You’re right, Gordon. PIXELS flopped over the weekend. I guess Adam Sandler’s exercises in ’80s nostalgia don’t sell like they did in the WEDDING SINGER days.

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