Minions Make Way for Ant-Man, and It’s No Trainwreck
By John Hamann
July 19, 2015
Amy Schumer and Paul Rudd make a glorious couple at the box office ball. Add in some Minions, and the party gets really hot.
It is a very unique weekend at the box office, as two original, non-sequel, non-reboot flicks open on the same day. So far in summer 2015, that has happened on June 19th (Dope and Inside Out), May 29th (San Andreas and Aloha), and May 8th (Hot Pursuit, The D-Train). New ideas are few, and this weekend, the big new idea is Marvel’s Ant-Man. While Ant-Man is a new idea, it brings with it all the power of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The larger portion of that great power is usually reserved for Marvel sequels or team-ups (Avengers, anyone?), and their new ideas usually open to a much smaller degree.
Our other new opener is the poster-girl for originality, the Judd Apatow-directed comedy Trainwreck, featuring Amy Schumer. This movie is as original as they come, as it is Schumer’s first movie role (she had a bit part in the awesome but little-seen Seeking A Friend for the End of the World), and is a true non-sequel, but it does bring the Apatow brand (Knocked Up, This is 40), and Schumer’s fanbase from her Emmy nominated TV show, Inside Amy Schumer.
Our number one film this weekend is the Marvel film, naturally. Ant-Man came in right around where early-week expectations had predicted it would (some media outlets get overly excited about strong Friday matinees). The Paul Rudd starrer got started on Thursday night with previews, which has really just become opening night. This time around, Marvel’s Ant-Man earned $6.4 million from those early screenings, an amount that makes forecasting the weekend a little easier. We knew at that point that Ant-Man wasn’t going to do ant-sized business. We also knew it wasn’t going to do Iron Man or Spider-Man kind of business – approaching $100 million despite not being a sequel. The Thursday preview was a good number, but it didn’t really tell us much, other than indicating that the $130 million picture was off to a solid start.
The rest of the weekend was decent, but far from explosive. Friday came in at $16.2 million, or $22.6 million with those Thursday amounts included. The stripped down Friday number was a little tougher to defend, as it was behaving more like The Incredible Hulk ($21.5 million opening day) than Thor or Captain America ($25.5 and $25.7 million opening days). The kicker, though, is those Thursday previews. When The Incredible Hulk opened in 2008, the preview prior to opening wasn’t what it was today, which puts Ant-Man at a disadvantage, even compared to Marvel’s weakest member (at least in terms of box office). Does this make Ant-Man a loser? Lord, no.
The weekend total for Ant-Man came in at $58 million, a respectable debut for a non-sequel even with it carrying the Marvel brand. This is not an explosive, city-shattering behemoth. It is a small story, a heist-film, a family film, not the usual kind of release for Marvel. With a cost of $130 million, it needs to make $400 million worldwide. Ant-Man should have no problem making $150 million domestically at the very least, which will mean that overseas will need to make up the slack - and I’m confident it will. As the Marvel brand is always building, they can afford to not win the lottery every time. By partnering Ant-Man with Avengers: Age of Ultron (which currently has a worldwide total of $1.4 billion) this summer, any creative steps taken are afforded by the sure things, which gives the Marvel universe room to grow with little financial risk.