‘Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’ Has Box Office Buzzing With $104 Million Debut

Jonathan Majors as Kang The Conqueror in Marvel Studios’ “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.” Photo by Jay Maidment/Marvel/TNS

Editor’s Note: The figures are as of 02/27/23.

By Rebecca Rubin


Disney’s “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” buzzed to $110 million at the domestic box office, beating expectations and scoring by far the biggest opening weekend in the pint-sized Marvel trilogy. The superhero adventure, starring Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly as the titular Ant-Man and the Wasp, is expected to bring in $118 million or $120 million by President’s Day. The film added $121 million at the international box office, bringing its global tally to $225 million.

Though the threequel landed the worst reviews of the series (and some of the harshest in the entire MCU), “Quantumania” got a huge jump on its predecessors, 2015’s “Ant-Man” with $57 million and 2018’s sequel “Ant-Man and the Wasp” with $76 million. Critical sentiments rarely matter for opening weekends of Marvel movies, but word-of-mouth could have an impact on future ticket sales.

In addition to its bleak 49% average on Rotten Tomatoes, audiences saddled the film with a “B” CinemaScore. “‘Ant-Man’ isn’t among the top Marvel series, and reviews and audience scores are uncharacteristically soft, but this is an excellent business and a big step up for the title,” says David A. Gross, Franchise Entertainment Research.

The comic book story centered on Rudd’s subatomic-sized hero isn’t expected to match its mighty Marvel counterparts, which traditionally power to the mightiest of the mighty opening weekends. Previous sequels in the sprawling series, including “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” ($185 million to start), “Thor: Love and Thunder” ($144 million) and “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” ($181 million), started stronger and eventually earned upwards of $750 million to $950 million globally. The prior two “Ant-Man” movies, which may serve as better points of comparison for “Quantumania,” tapped out with $519 million and $622 million worldwide, respectively.

The tiniest Avenger may be small, but the third chapter still looks to be mighty. Based on opening weekend returns, the newest “Ant-Man” entry is expected to end its box office run with the biggest receipts in the trilogy. That’s a good sign because the latest “Ant-Man” adventure has the lofty responsibility of kicking off Phase Five of the MCU. It continues with “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” on May 5, followed by the newly delayed “The Marvels” on Nov. 10. Peyton Reed directed “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania,” the 31st installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film, which introduces Jonathan Majors as Kang the Conqueror, the heir apparent to the villainous Thanos, also stars Michelle Pfeiffer, Michael Douglass and Kathryn Newton as Ant-Man and Co. are transported to the mysterious Quantum Realm — which defies the laws of space and time — to save the planet from evil.

“Ant-Man 3” topped box office charts over another otherworldly adventure. James Cameron’s enduring blockbuster “Avatar: The Way of Water,” stayed in second place in its 10th weekend of release, adding $6.4 million over the weekend and an estimated $8 million through Monday from 2,675 theaters. To date, the sci-fi sequel has generated $658 million in North America, overtaking 2015’s “Jurassic World” as the ninth-biggest movie in domestic box office history. At No. 3, Universal’s animated sequel “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” has also remained surprisingly strong, bringing in $5.3 million over the weekend and an estimated $7.1 million through Monday from 3,012 locations. The film, set in the “Shrek” universe,” opened in theaters in December and has amassed $167 million in North America and a huge $400 million globally.

Last weekend’s champ “Magic Mike’s Last Dance” dropped to fourth place, raking in $5.5 million over the weekend and an estimated $6 million through Monday from 3,034 theaters. After two weeks of release, the third “Magic Mike,” led by Channing Tatum and Salma Hayek, has grossed $18.1 million. The Warner Bros. release, which was crafted for HBO Max but later given an exclusive theatrical run, cost nearly $50 million to produce. Universal’s “Knock at the Cabin” rounded out the top five with $3.9 million over the weekend and $4.49 million through Monday from 2,601 cinemas. The latest psychological thriller from M. Night Shyamalan has generated $30.9 million to date. Liam Neeson’s crime thriller “Marlowe,” was brave enough to open against “Ant-Man and the Wasp Quantumania.”

The film barely cracked the top 10, landing in ninth place with a dismal $1.9 million over the weekend and $3 million through Monday from 2,281 locations. Neeson’s latest action films haven’t been huge theatrical draws, but the poorly reviewed “Marlowe,” in which he plays a detective hired to find the ex-lover of a glamorous heiress, marks the actor’s worst start in some time. Ticket sales were below 2022’s “Memory” ($3.1 million debut) and “Blacklight” ($3.5 million), as well as pandemic-era releases like 2021’s “The Marksman” ($3.1 million) and 2020’s “Honest Thief” ($4.1 million).

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