All eyes are currently on that second-weekend drop for Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, as it’s expected to potentially end up as the biggest drop for any Marvel Studios or even superhero film. There’s, of course, the chance that it’s weaker than expected Thursday may have ended up pulling expectations far back, as originally most expected something around 35M to 40M. Now, it’s uncertain where it’ll land above $30M.
Naturally, the usual big superhero drop in its second weekend has the Internet going: “Marvel is dead” and the usual gloating about one singular film’s performance. It’s even happened with films that have performed quite well throughout the last year. So, there are also some positive things to report on that may get overshadowed in the usual discourse online.
As of now, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania has already passed the $300M box office benchmark worldwide. It currently stands at $143M domestically and $160M internationally, which means it pulled in a total of $303M as of this Friday. With the film likely set to wrap around 30M over the weekend there’s still a chance it’ll end its second weekend with $350M worldwide.
Some might still be scratching their heads though on what exactly is going on. Even Eternals with a B rating had a stronger hold going into its second weekend. So, what exactly is the cause for Ant-Man 3‘s current drop in its second weekend? The film did perform quite well with younger audiences that only make up around 16% of its viewing basis. Cocaine Bear is likely to pull in young adults and especially male audiences that took a bigger chunk than expected, as that film is currently performing quite well on its Friday (doing even better than the Marvel entry).
So, the audience just wasn’t as strong on a Friday as it could’ve been and the counter-programming had a bigger overlap than initially expected. February also hasn’t seen any major releases in quite some time since before the pandemic. So, the market is much harder to predict and this weekend is quite a bit softer than the previous one. There’s a massive blockbuster summer ahead and there’s a chance that “okay” or “just good” isn’t enough to keep viewers in theaters while they’re saving for what’s coming.
Plus, the US saw quite a few strong storms, which may also have not really tempted people to leave for the theater as fast as possible, especially families. If these are a potential factor going into the weekend, they may potentially balance out in the third weekend but that depends on how this weekend generally goes.
So, word-of-mouth not being as strong as it could’ve been is just holding the film back quite a bit more in a non-summer market. There’s also the question if Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania took too big of a step from what the general audience is used to. The first two films are very grounded and light-hearted offerings. So, the big major addition of Kang the Conqueror combined with a full-on weird sci-fi epic direction just was “too different” to really get people coming back.
Thor: Love and Thunder had a similar drop in development when compared to just a better weekly performance due to its July release. Yet, it also was far more in the comedy direction when even compared to Thor: Ragnarok and previous films, which may have just left audiences having an issue connecting with what they expected to be another Thor film.
Science fiction also has generally struggled at times, especially internationally in Eastern markets as highlighted by Deadline. Eternals had the luck that it had one of South Korea’s biggest actors as part of its main cast, which created a surprising boost even with its high sci-fi concept mixed with a more indie film approach. And it’s too early to even describe a $300M movie as a flop, as we’re only in its second weekend.
Still, as pointed out by The Wrap, the film’s international box office in China hasn’t really left an impression with its $19.2M opening either. It’s also set for a harsher drop in that market but there’s generally a lot of momentum lost in that market for Hollywood productions over the pandemic. So, the film is only going to get a little boost out of it and likely won’t get anywhere near the other Ant-Man films in that market.
As of now, we don’t know where the second weekend will end up and have no idea if the film might have a softer third weekend. If people rushed to the theaters to see Kang and the future of the MCU, they drop might be easier to explain as tepid word-of-mouth just didn’t add the “must watch now” replay value. Disney+’s 45-day strategy also hurt the industry and some might think it’s just worth waiting it out until it releases there.
Marvel Studios might be smart and extend theatrical windows publicly to ensure audiences know the wait is going to be much longer, but they also may be reactionary to get it to the streaming service and it may even rival Eternals as one of the most viewed offerings on the service. So, if the film isn’t a seller on the first view, word-of-mouth is just harsher as post-Endgame expectations still remain at an all-time high; so let’s please not bring in Marvel fatigue to the discussion as the opening still hints at interest.
If we try to predict with the data we have now, the film might likely have similar legs to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which would be a multiplier of 2.2. The Friday-to-Friday drop would match the 81%, as it currently stands at 82% unadjusted. So, if it manages to stay below the feared 70% drop, it could still somewhat leg out in its third weekend. With a similar projection, it could end up at around 230M domestically.
It should be noted that its Thursday to Friday drop is better than Doctor Strange‘s at 119% vs. 111% but that was also during the summer. Thor: Love and Thunder had a 80% drop in its Friday-to-Friday but ended up with a much worse 68% drop in its second weekend. Quantumania still has some potential depending on Saturday to dodge that number. So, it could have surprisingly better legs with a multiplier of 2.35 like Love and Thunder. That would put it at around 250M. Worst case, it’s another Batman v Superman and we have a soft 2x multiplier and we end up slightly above 200M.
So, there is potential that the film could end up between $500M and $550M with China included. The first Ant-Man made $518M but if you take out China actually only stands at 413M. Its sequel, Ant-Man and the Wasp was slightly above $623M but without China is actually at 503M. So, if with Chinese box office likely ends up at around 40M, the film could end up making more than its previous entry with 510M. The budget is much higher at around a predicted $200M but it would still technically break even and make most of its profits through digital and physical sales.
Source: The Numbers, The Wrap, The Numbers (Multiverse of Madness), The Numbers (Love and Thunder), The Numbers (Ant-Man), The Numbers (A&TW), The Guardian