Monday Morning Quarterback Part I
By BOP Staff
July 21, 2015
Kim Hollis: Ant-Man, the latest release from the Marvel universe, earned $57.2 million as it opened this weekend. What do you think of this result?
Ben Gruchow: The relevant Marvel comparisons as far as opening are, I think, Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger. Summer of 2011 was really the only time that the MCU was sort of an unknown quantity as far as whether the whole thing could pay off. (Iron Man exploded in 2008, the sequel had advance goodwill because of it; The Avengers exploded and gave Iron Man 3 a halo; Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy had the dual benefit of anticipation for the Avengers sequel and very good critical reception.) These two provide the fairest comparison: they were both tests of the brand, reviews were good but not spectacular, and the lead actors were familiar but not household names.
Grading on this curve, Ant-Man’s $57 million is okay. It shows a decent amount of audience attrition (7.1 million tickets versus 8.1 million for both of the first two), which is expected because the concept is sillier than the other Marvel brands while also looking (from the trailers) sort of bland and middle-of-the-road. I remember seeing the trailers multiple times in front of other movies, and the final gag with the train set (which does work better in the film itself) garnered a few sporadic chuckles but not much else. It was perceived as a lightweight relative to the Marvel stable, and this opening is in line with that.
Edwin Davies: This strikes me as a decent result for a character that people aren't familiar with and a concept that looked a little silly. Paul Rudd is a well-liked actor who isn't a draw, and reviews were respectful rather than enthusiastic. Plus, it had to overcome its much-discussed production history, which probably won't matter to most audiences but could have shaved off a few millions from fans who decided to see what the response was like.
Now, the rejoinder to that is the question of why did Ant-Man do sub-Thor numbers where Guardians of the Galaxy opened to $90 million, and I think the answer might be Avengers fatigue. Guardians was more or less separate from the main MCU storyline, and while Ant-Man is somewhat standalone, it resembles the other Avengers movies just enough that there isn't the sense of novelty there. It also probably wasn't helped by opening in the immediate wake of Age of Ultron, which maybe sucked all the air out of the room when it comes to superhero movies, and made Ant-Man looked a little small by comparison.
Felix Quinonez: I think it did just fine. It might have been too silly looking to really draw audiences outside of the already converted who would watch anything with the Marvel name. But the people who did see it seemed to enjoy it, based on its A Cinemascore, so legs are not out of the questions. That being said, it should still see a profit. And it will also score Marvel some cred points among the hardcore fans who want more than just the big names.