Box Office: ‘Ant-Man’ Tops With $58 Million, ‘Trainwreck’ Impresses With $30.2 Million

Ant-Man
Courtesy of Marvel

Marvel’s “Ant-Man” landed with a solid $58 million at the weekend box office, while “Trainwreck’s” Amy Schumer put her own raunchy spin on romantic comedies to the tune of a $30.2 million debut.

It marks Marvel’s 12th consecutive first place opening, although “Ant-Man” isn’t at the level of other, bigger-name costumed heroes like Captain America, Thor and Iron Man, all of whom performed better out of the gate with their solo adventures. Going into the weekend, analysts expected “Ant-Man” to top $60 million, but its opening is similar to “The Incredible Hulk,” which earned an initial $55 million on its way to a $134 million U.S. haul.

“They are a victim of their own success,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Rentrak. “Any time you have a brand like Marvel, the expectations get blown out of proportion.”

That may be, but the studio sounds disappointed it couldn’t elevate “Ant-Man” to “Guardians of the Galaxy”-like numbers. Disney distribution chief Dave Hollis admitted that he wished the movie had done better, but still praised Marvel as a model of consistency.

“No one else could take what is really an obscure character and launch it in such a big way,” said Hollis. “It’s a sign that they’re doing so much right and that it’s a brand that has overwhelming momentum.”

Not every studio was on the defensive. Universal’s “Trainwreck” bested initial projections which had it debuting to roughly $20 million. The story of a commitment-phobic woman who falls for a sports doctor got a boost from strong reviews and a long and winding promotional tour that saw Schumer doing everything from posing provocatively with C3PO to sexting Katie Couric’s husband.

“Amy Schumer is absolutely a star,” said Nick Carpou, Universal’s domestic distribution chief. “Based on exit polling, after the humor, she’s the second-biggest reason people went out to see the film.”

“Trainwreck” kicks off Schumer’s film career on a high note and marks the second-biggest opening for director Judd Apatow, behind only “Knocked Up’s” $30.7 million debut. Females represented 66% of ticket buyers. Universal produced the comedy for a modest $35 million, so it should make a healthy return on its investment.

That’s a fraction of the $130 million that Marvel spent on the story of a thief (Paul Rudd) who becomes a hero after donning a suit that gives him the powers of an arthropod. The superhero film will lean heavily on foreign crowds as it looks for profits. Internationally, “Ant-Man” opened in 37 markets, including Mexico, the U.K., France and Russia, pulling in $56 million.

“Ant-Man,” which employs a more tongue-in-cheek, lighter tone than most superhero movies, hoped to pull in younger crowds. To that end, the domestic audience for “Ant-Man” was 28% comprised of families. Fifty eight percent of ticket buyers were male, 59% were adult and 13% were teens.

In its second weekend, Universal and Illumination Entertainment’s “Minions” captured runner-up status, pulling in $50.2 million. The “Despicable Me” spinoff has racked up $216.7 million Stateside since it debuted, while selling boatloads of merchandise.

In milestone news, “Jurassic World” became just the fourth film in history to top $600 million domestically. The dinosaur thriller added $11.4 million to take fifth place on the box office chart and propel its North American total to $611.1 million.

Meanwhile, “Inside Out” pushed past $300 million domestically, joining “Toy Story 3” and “Finding Nemo” as the third Pixar film to reach that mark. Domestically, “Inside Out” racked up $11.6 million for a fourth place finish, bringing its North American gross to $306.4 million.

Among arthouse releases, Woody Allen’s “Irrational Man” pulled in $188,115 on five screens during its first weekend, for a per screen average of $37,623. Also opening, “Mr. Holmes” with Ian McKellen as an aging version of the supersleuth, grossed an estimated $2.5 million on 363 screens, for a per screen average of $6,856.

Overall box office numbers are still being tallied, but it looks like ticket sales will be up more than 30% over the same period last year. It marks the sixth consecutive weekend of gains, a sign that business is booming at the multiplexes. That cuts both ways, as Disney and Marvel discovered.

“It’s great for the business, but what it means is that it’s more competitive,” said Hollis.

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  1. Bill B. says:

    I would be surprised if Ant Man didn’t have long legs as most seem to like it and it’s fun, but at the same time, I strongly hope that Marvel movies are starting lose their appeal. Enough with the onslaught of super heroes already. One now and then was great. Now I can’t remember one film from the other anymore. In my mind, they all seem like one film except for Guardians which stood apart from the others.

  2. Walter J. says:

    Weak opening.

  3. IT 2 IT says:

    With ALLL the info and exposes that are breaking worldwide
    as RED CHINA TREASON rounds off and OPEN globalist mafia USURPATION ramps- – –
    is this the –BEST– franchise slum Hollywood can come up with?

    GUESS IT IS.

    GUESS PSYCHOPATHS really ARE incapable of GENUINE creativity.

  4. Candice says:

    Proof that it’s not the size of the Superhero, it’s the magic.

  5. Adam says:

    Ant Man had the lowest opening box office of any Marvel film.

  6. Michelle says:

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  7. Dollie Q. says:

    Also, the movie business has achieved true goodwill from the audience. This summer, for once, they’ve delivered on the promise of having a good time every weekend.

  8. Odinson2k14 says:

    I smell fanbase front loading with Trainwreck, and a massive 60% trainwreck next weekend :D

  9. SBUX says:

    Ant-man was great. I need to check Spotify to see if the soundtrack is available for listening on that free streaming service. I’ll never watch another CGI film in the same way after I saw the you-tube vid “Life After Pi’, which is about the financial pressures that these big special effects films put on the small shops that do the effects.

  10. LOL says:

    This is the beginning of the end for Marvel. Two underperformers in one summer.

    Hopefully geek culture will become unpalatable once more.

    • Adam says:

      What was the other Marvel underperformer? Surely not Age of Ultron. It didn’t make as much domestically as the first Avengers but it made just as much or even a bit more internationally and it still made a huge return on investment.

    • Robert Dassler says:

      What was the other under-performer? Age of Ultron took in over a billion dollars. Over. A. Billion. Dollars. Did Marvel release another movie without telling anybody?

  11. Bea of -FakeABaby- says:

    Well I’m not surprised either! No wonder why so many people fell in love with Ant-Man! :)

  12. Gary says:

    Solid opening for Ant Man considering Trainwreck over performed and took some of the female audience and Minions was a solid holdover for the kid viewers..I imagine Ant Man could win next weekend if things slow down

  13. RichM says:

    “wished it could have done better”- that’s crazy, 58 million is great for a less famous character.

  14. maxmolinaro says:

    No way is it a flop. It has a lowest budget of any Marvel film and opened similarly to original franchise openers like Thor and Cap. It’s doing just find for an original film that had a lot going against it

    • Robert Dassler says:

      Add in the fact that the character is in next year’s Captain America: Civil War and will probably appear in the next Avengers movies. A modest Box Office doesn’t mean that we won’t see these characters again.

    • Bill B. says:

      This will be a big hit with legs. It’s a much more fun film and character than the wooden Thor, the incredibly dull Captain America or the increasingly silly Iron Man.

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