Ant-Man and the Wasp is projected to be a much larger box office hit than its 2015 predecessor. Marvel Studios has celebrated their 10th anniversary in style, starting 2018 with a pair of $1 billion blockbusters (Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War). Before the franchise closes out this year, they have one more film set for release. Peyton Reed's Ant-Man and the Wasp is just a few weeks away from its premiere, helping set the stage before Avengers 4 in 2019.
The first Ant-Man was a modest success for Marvel a few years ago. Coming out on the heels of Avengers: Age of Ultron, the heist comedy earned $180.2 million total domestically, $57.2 million of which was earned during its opening weekend. In the early going, it looks like the sequel's haul is going to be considerably more impressive.
According to THR, current estimates have Ant-Man and the Wasp pegged for about $75 million in its U.S. opening weekend. That figure would still rank in the bottom half of the MCU's debuts, but it's still a huge jump for this particular sub-franchise and demonstrates more viewers are now on-board with Marvel's smallest heroes. In addition to a well-received solo film a few years ago, Ant-Man also appeared in 2016's Captain America: Civil War, which earned $408 million domestically.
This is also an indicator of the MCU's sterling commercial prowess. After a decade of storytelling, the franchise is as strong as it's ever been, churning out hit after hit. Their 2017 was particularly impressive, with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Thor: Ragnarok all earning positive reviews and doing well at the box office. Marvel Studios is an established brand that viewers trust to deliver high-quality entertainment, much like their Disney brethren Pixar. By now, people know what to expect when they see the Marvel logo, meaning they're more likely to go see the latest MCU installment in theaters. With their last few efforts, Marvel has shown a willingness to be a little creative with their movies, which only helps word-of-mouth and box office performance.
Ant-Man and the Wasp seems perfectly placed on the MCU slate, following the heavy dramatics of Black Panther and Infinity War. A breezy crime flick sounds like the ideal palate cleanser as viewers recover from Infinity War's shocking ending and gear up for the conclusion of Phase 3. Scott Lang is never going to be Marvel's most popular hero, but he doesn't have to be. Compared to most superhero titles, the first Ant-Man was moderately budgeted ($130 million), so Marvel should have the followup positioned to be a profitable endeavor as well.
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