Box Office Report: Ant-Man soft by Marvel standards; Trainwreck surprises

If you thought I was referring to that Thomas the Train Engine ‘train wreck’ you should remember from Ant-Man, thats not true. That was rather expected, actually, considering we caught hold of it in the numerous trailers we were bombarded with. I’m talking about Trainwreck, Judd Apatow’s latest offering, one which definitely surpassed expectations. Meanwhile, Ant-Man performed a bit softer than expected, though we shouldn’t be criticizing it (doesn’t deserve it, that fella).

Ant-Man, Marvel’s final offering in its second phase, and the place-holder between Avengers: Age of Ultron and next summer’s Captain America: Civil War, was always expected to be soft, relative to other offerings we have seen from Marvel in recent years. The production was plagued with several problems- Edgar Wright, the man who brought this project to life, quit abruptly midway through script-writing, after Marvel chose to play ‘hard to please’. He was sorely missed, and in his place was Peyton Reed, who brought us the widely derided Yes-Man. Ant-Man was Marvel’s first ever film in production, though it was put through long delays. It was already ‘on the dockets’ before Marvel even had plans for a shared cinematic universe. However, that didn’t translate to massive earnings. Ant-Man was always an ‘indie’ film for Marvel, one which would have the smallest budget ever seen from the highly-ambitious studio ($130 million), and one with the lowest stakes. It was never expected to hit the level of Iron Man or Guardians of the Galaxy- it was more Incredible Hulk or Thor than Avengers. Marvel probably thought about that too, hence hiring comedian leading-man Paul Rudd to take the lead on this property. As I said in my review, he did really well, and Michael Douglas, Michael Pena, Corey Stoll and Evangeline Lilly’s presence were welcome as well. Too bad- star power doesn’t work these days anymore. All these factors led to Ant-Man earning $57.2 million, which I stress to emphasize once again, wasn’t bad, but relative to Marvel’s standards, wasn’t that great either, opening just ahead of The Incredible Hulk to become Marvel’s second lowest opening yet ever since its official launch of its shared cinematic universe. In comparison, The Incredible Hulk earned $55.4 million over its opening weekend back in 2008, to lukewarm reviews, and ended its run with $134.8 million. I’m definitely wishing for a sequel in this case- I definitely loved this film, and can’t imagine how cool Wasp looks when the spotlight’s on it (one which the mid-credits scene in Ant-Man teased). Its Friday share of opening weekend was at 1:2.53. Okay, lets compare that with various other figures from similar movies. Avengers: Age of Ultron had a really front-loaded 1:2.27 ratio; Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel’s previous ‘original’ offering, had a 1:2.49 ratio, Captain America: Winter Soldier had a ratio of 1:2.57, and Marvel’s previous solo original superhero piece, Captain America: The First Avenger, had a ratio of 1:2.53. As you can see, Ant-Man’s opening weekend ratio is rather typical for its parent studio, with all films holding up around the same, with the pure exception of Avengers: Age of Ultron, which had lots of buzz ahead of release, and its nature of being a direct sequel to the biggest opening North America has seen since the start of life. Okay, too much of an exaggeration. It had a fantastic A cinemascore, signaling decent to good word of mouth, and 58% of its moviegoers were male, while 55% were over 25 years old.

The only other wide opener, Trainwreck, scored the second biggest opening in Judd Apatow’s directorial career. That’s after an entire month of buzz, in pre-release screenings, which brought about word of mouth after news came out that it was a great addition to Apatow’s collection. (Rotten Tomatoes rating is at 85%). It earned $30.1 million this weekend, still behind Spy, but regardless.. Whatever it is, Universal Studios has been on a hot unbeatable streak so far this summer- it all started with Pitch Perfect 2, followed by Jurassic World, then Minions last weekend and now this. They have only had over-performers now, showing how great of a time they must be having. It was below the $30.7 million opening of Knocked Up, but it came really close, admittedly. The share of Friday over the entire weekend was at 1:2.80, not something which you should be smirking at. In terms of demographic, 63% and 66% of moviegoers were older than 30 and female respectively. The film earned an admirable A- Cinemascore. Oh, and if you’re wondering whether this term ‘star-power’ still exists, thats great- according to a poll conducted by Rentrak, over 28% of participants claimed they watched this film because they were fans to Amy Schumer. Thats a really large proportion of the moviegoing audience.

Lets get back to the holdovers.

Minions suffered a tremendous drop, which was far biggest then widely anticipated. That signifies heavy front-loadedness, which should have been evident last weekend, when Minions opened to a massive $115.7 million over its first 3 days, ahead of the first two Despicable Me. Minions earned $49.3 million this weekend, representing a drop of 57.4%, though that can be attributed to the competitive nature of the market, with Ant-Man dropping into theaters. The situation is likely to remain bleak, with Pixels, Fantastic Four and Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation all trying to have a bite at the pie, unless Minions is able to stabilize next weekend. Its definitely not going to hit the ridiculously high level Despicable Me 2 set for this prequel, though $300 million should be easy. It has earned $215.8 million to date.

Inside Out and Jurassic World once again showed remarkable holding power, testament to how beloved those properties are. Inside Out inched ahead in the one-on-one race again (and this race is only set to continue between those two, and it has ever since Inside Out launched, just saying), earning $11.544 million, ahead of Jurassic World’s $11.455 million. Those film’s respective cumulative grosses to date are $306.3 million and $611.2 million to date.

The top 12 earned a combined $183.4 million, 36% ahead of the same weekend last year, when The Purge: Anarchy, Planes: Fire and Rescue and Sex Tape struggled against the mighty will of the apes. Here’s the top 10, anyways, for your browsing:

Rank Last Week Rank Film Weekend Gross Change Total Gross Per-Theater Average Week
1 Ant-Man $57,225,526 $57,225,526 $14,841 1
2 1 Minions $49,274,730 -57.4% $215,766,440 $11,430 2
3 Trainwreck $30,097,040 $30,097,040 $9,530 1
4 3 Inside Out $11,544,080 -34.7% $306,247,046 $3,538 5
5 2 Jurassic World $11,454,975 -36.9% $611,228,780 $3,675 6
6 4 Terminator: Genisys $5,402,189 -60.9% $80,642,314 $1,920 3
7 6 Magic Mike XXL $4,448,045 -53.6% $58,584,009 $1,726 3
8 5 The Gallows $4,011,094 -59.1% $18,012,685 $1,475 2
9 Bajrangi Bhaljaan $2,621,282 $2,621,282 $10,239 1
10 7 Ted 2 $2,602,390 -54.1% $77,359,250 $1,645 4

Check back again next week, when Adam Sandler comes back to haunt you with Pixels, John Green makes his epic return to the theaters with his second adaptation, Paper Towns, and Jake Gyllenhaal and Eminem and Antoine Fuqua trick you into boxing. You know what I mean.

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