All eyes are on Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania‘s box office run, some with shock and others with glee. The film faced a record second-weekend drop that is slightly above Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice‘s back in 2016. With a B CinemaScore and rather mild word-of-mouth, the film was the focus of many deliberations over the end of Marvel Studios’ reign at the box office. Still, the film is performing and isn’t as big as it could’ve been.
As of now, the film saw a smaller international drop in its third weekend compared to the domestic performance as it pulled in $22M in 52 markets. That is a 53% drop and a bit of a better hold than the 61% we saw domestically at $12M+. As such, the film stands domestically at $186.7M and internationally at $232.7M. Worldwide the film is now at $419.5M and is still expected to pass $500M worldwide going by Deadline’s current expectations while others believe it might barely miss that benchmark.
That would align with our early predictions after the second-week drop, which was expecting the film to land somewhere between $500M to $550M, though it is now leaning towards the former. That would put it below the international box office of Ant-Man and the Wasp, which pulled in $632M and it’s even more uncertain if it’ll beat Ant-Man‘s $519M worldwide.
We also can’t forget how different the comparisons are if you take China’s overall slump as a factor in how the film is performing. Ant-Man‘s 518M run consisted of 105M in China. So, the film technically made around 413M without that specific market. Ant-Man and the Wasp similarly pulled in 120M in China, which would set it at 503M. If the film wraps up at around 40M in China and plays around the 500M mark, it’ll still have made quite a bit more than the first entry, though that 200M budget is just what is hurting the film at this point.
It’s the “risk” that they took by going big and bold with this Ant-Man film, which may simply just have had some take a step back in this rather different direction for the franchise. As such, it’s uncertain just how much money they invested in the marketing, as if they went 100M, they’d have to at least hit 600M to technically break even as they make around half from box office tickets. It’s something only expected with high-budget investments. Though, they made enough last year to balance it out somewhat.
What is definite though is that domestically the threequel has passed the first Ant-Man‘s $180M entire domestic run by its third weekend. It’s definitely not as far as it could’ve gone if the film’s domestic hold was stronger, but it’s not a complete loss due to the film still performing decently. It’s a similar discussion point that we saw with the first Ant-Man film when it opened to a tepid $57M and was called a flop after releasing in the wake of Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Ironically, Age of Ultron was also the focus of a similar discussion point when it opened below the first Avengers film. Even though it “only” managed to pull in $1.4B compared to The Avengers‘ still impressive $1.5B back in 2012. While it’s different circumstances overall, especially with the higher investment in Quantumania outshining previous entries, it’s always been a discussion point on the staying power of Marvel studios at the box office if a slight drop happens.
The main point still remains that the fatigue discussion and “end of Marvel” existed ever since 2015 and likely won’t ever end. 2021 releases still performed incredibly well even with B+ scores, and Marvel Studios may have taken too big of a step with the usual smaller Ant-Man franchise. No matter where one stands on its quality, it’s definitely a bigger jump for one of Marvel Studios’ various franchises that just didn’t quite pay off.
The long-forgotten aspect of Marvel movies is also that not everyone watches every single entry. So, if this truly will echo for future entries remains to be seen as Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 seems like a sure-fire release this summer and The Marvels‘ could still pull in quite an audience if it manages to reverse the current “B” CinemaScore trend. It may be fatigue, it may not be but Eternals‘ dominance on Disney+ after a soft (and another risky release) during the pandemic may hint at the overall “heard it’s alright, let’s wait for it to hit Disney+” mentality echoing out of the 45-day release window.
If this film has strong Disney+ numbers once it releases on the platform, we are definitely looking at a trend. Marvel Studios films will open big but require a much stronger reception to stick around in theaters due to the certainty of a free streaming release. We might be seeing an aftermath of the pandemic that is easily overshadowed but not forgotten when looking at Strange Worlds and Lightyear. If Disney was smart, they’d pull another Wakanda Forever and just refuse to release it anytime soon; something Bog Iger and Kevin Feige might be pushing as a back to the old norm with Bob Chapek out of the picture.