Weekend Wrap-Up

Minions Make Way for Ant-Man, and It’s No Trainwreck

By John Hamann

July 19, 2015

Why doesn't anyone believe me when I say my superhero name is Ant-Man?

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And grow it will, as moviegoers seem to like what they see with Ant-Man. The small-scale Marvel release is 79% fresh at RottenTomatoes, lower than some other Marvel releases, but many reviews looked at what Ant-Man wasn’t rather than what it was. Ant-Man had some turmoil as it approached release, most notably losing wunderkind director Edgar Wright (the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy, Scott Pilgrim), and replacing him with Peyton Reed, who has a much more bland resume (Bring it On, The Yes Man). I also would like Edgar Wright to direct a Marvel movie, but I wouldn’t pine for that in my review. The Cinemascore was very solid, coming in at an A, which bodes well for legs going forward. It has to deal with Pixels next weekend, but I see that more as a comedy (and I’m still not sure it will work), and then Ant-Man has to face a new Mission: Impossible the following weekend.

What a weird road it’s been for Paul Rudd. Starting in the early '90s in Clueless, Rudd got some decent roles through the 1990s including a more dramatic turn in The Cider House Rules. Things got quiet for the star in the early 2000s, but then he landed a supporting role on Friends, which led to a role in Anchorman. His portrayal of Brian Fantana in that comedy led to a long relationship with Judd Apatow, who Rudd is up against this weekend. Roles in The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up followed, which led to above-the-title hits with Role Models and I Love You, Man. The comedic actor will now go from small roles to the world of the mega-blockbuster, as Ant-Man will appear in Captain America: Civil War, coming next year in May with an opening weekend likely at least three times that of Ant-Man.


Finishing second is Minions, which opened last weekend to a ludicrously large $115.7 million. With $85 million in new business going on with the openers, it was going to be tough for the Minions to hold despite no animated competition this weekend, though some families may have been redirected to Ant Man. The result is a second weekend gross of $50.2 million, off a higher-than-expected 57% compared to its massive debut. Does that take the shine off of Minions? No way. Our little yellow frenemies crossed the $200 million mark on Sunday, the film's 10th day of release. That's the same amount of time it took Shrek the Third and one day faster than Shrek 2, but one day slower than Toy Story 3, which earned $200 million in nine days. Minions has a domestic total of $216.7 million and the overseas total is now passed the $400 million mark. Remember, Minions cost only $74 million to make, which means it needed only about $250 million to be profitable for the studio of the year, Universal.

Speaking of Universal, the studio got another nice surprise this weekend in the form of Trainwreck, which blasted past expectations by about $10 million. The Amy Schumer comedy (sorry Judd Apatow, but you are NOT the star this weekend) is really the highlight of the July 17th frame, as a movie star is born in Schumer, whose style seems to be the hit of the summer. Trainwreck got started with a muted $1.8 million from Thursday previews before blowing up on Friday with a gross of $10.7 million, which included the preview amount. Other than horror films, movies do not have an opening day above $10 million if the lead has never been in anything. Schumer brings the fanbase from her TV show, Inside Amy Schumer, which garnered an impressive seven Emmy nominations last week, as well as her stand up fanbase.

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