Monday Morning Quarterback Part II
By BOP Staff
July 22, 2015
Kim Hollis: How much, if any, do you think Paul Rudd's likability played into opening weekend and consumers giving Ant-Man’s very odd concept a chance? Also, while we're discussing unprovable theoreticals, do you think Ant-Man does better, worse or about the same if Edgar Wright had stayed on the project?
Ben Gruchow: It's the same thing as the first Iron Man: put anyone in that suit other than Paul Rudd/Robert Downey, Jr., and you have a vastly different experience. Put Tom Cruise in the Iron Man suit (he was an early contender) and you'd have a different (and less successful movie). Put Nicolas Cage in the Iron Man suit (he was another early contender) and you have something that'd be absolutely freaking awesome and that I'd see at any theater serving alcohol, but a totally different experience (and one that, honestly, would probably bomb and kill the MCU in its cradle). Paul Rudd was the perfect fit for this character; he sells the criminal aspect, he sells us on the human aspect, he's got a good poker face, and he's good with a deadpan remark.
Had Edgar Wright stayed on (and therefore, if he'd been given more creative control), I think it ultimately would have done about the same. I think we might've seen something a little closer critically to what James Gunn got away with last year with Guardians of the Galaxy, but the conceptual hook wouldn't have really changed much.
Edwin Davies: As I said in the previous answer, Rudd is someone that a lot of people know from his past roles, but he's not someone who has ever opened a film to big numbers. His comedic chops worked in the ads, which I thought had the right balance between self-deprecation and action, and he seems like a good fit for a film that doesn't take itself too seriously.
While the film itself may not have changed all that radically if Edgar Wright had stayed on board (though it's worth noting that it would have had a somewhat different cast since some characters ended up being cut from his script, while Patrick Wilson left the film when delays to production caused by Wright's departure meant that he could no longer do it), I think the press surrounding the film would probably have been a lot more positive. You wouldn't have had a month of confusion over who was going to direct, the film wouldn't have been pegged with the "troubled" label, and Wright would have been the perfect person to go out there and stoke enthusiasm for the film amongst the geek community. Even if he delivered substantially the same film, I don't think it's too much to suggest that it could have opened in the mid-$60 million range if he had stayed on and save Marvel a whole ton of bad press.
Felix Quinonez: As much as I love Paul Rudd, I don't think he played a big, if any, role in the box office. I really don't think he hurt it but I doubt that if anybody thought the movie looked too weird that they changed their minds because of Rudd.
I think it would have done about the same if Wright had directed it. Wright has done great movies and none of them made very much money. And even though his firing caused a lot of bad headlines and uncertainty, I don't think that general audiences really pay much attention to that. World War Z had just as bad press and back screen drama and that wasn't hurt at all by it.