Ant-Man & the Wasp Barely Tops MCU Phase 1 Box Office Openings

Ant-Man and the Wasp won the box office in its opening weekend, but its debut is only slightly above Phase 1 offerings. Over the last 10 years, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has become one of the industry's premier franchises, revolutionizing the industry with its interconnected storytelling. It seems like Kevin Feige and company can transform even the most obscure comic book into a blockbuster film, seeing that the MCU has brought in more than $17 billion worldwide. Of course, when you have as many properties as Marvel, some are going to be bigger than others.

One of the smallest (forgive the pun) sub-series Marvel has at their disposal is Ant-Man, which started in 2015. The first film earned $180.2 million domestically, ahead of only The Incredible Hulk on the MCU's all-time chart. The expectation for this summer's sequel was that it would earn more money at the outset, though go down as the lowest opening of Phase 3. That's precisely what happened.

Related: How Ant-Man and the Wasp Connects to Infinity War

According to Box Office MojoAnt-Man and the Wasp earned $76 million in its first three days. That is nearly $20 million more than the first Ant-Man, but its performance is far more modest than what Marvel has become accustomed to. Besides its direct predecessor, the only other MCU openings Ant-Man and the Wasp topped are Thor ($65.7 million), Captain America: The First Avenger ($65 million), and The Incredible Hulk ($55.4 million). Those three were all released well before the MCU became the juggernaut it is today.

At first glance, this development seems troubling (noted box office flop Solo: A Star Wars Story made $84.4 million in its first three days). However, there's little to worry about because of the production budgets. Marvel knows Ant-Man isn't going to outpace some of their more popular titles, so they keep costs down. The first Ant-Man was made for "only" $130 million. While the sequel's was likely higher, it wasn't by much. The smart money management ensures Ant-Man and the Wasp is in a position to thrive and be profitable. It remains to be seen if there will be an Ant-Man 3, but the fact the turnout for Wasp was higher than the first go-around illustrates there's a growing audience for Scott Lang, Hope van Dyne, and friends. And Marvel understands it's good to balance epics like Infinity War with smaller offerings.

This weekend's other wide release, The First Purge, struggled to make much of an impression. Its $17.1 million opening is the lowest in the franchise to date, indicating viewers may be growing tired of the premise. Still, budgeted at $13 million, the horror film is going to turn a profit. The rest of the top five was rounded out by Incredibles 2 ($29 million), Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom ($28.5 million), and Sicario: Day of the Soldado ($7.3 million). Incredibles 2 passed a milestone by crossing $500 million domestically, becoming the highest-grossing animated movie of all-time.

MORE: Ant-Man and the Wasp's Ending Explained

Source: Box Office Mojo

Key Release Dates
  • Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018
  • Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
  • The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
  • Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019
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