Ant-Man and the Wasp has the lowest production budget of Marvel Studios' three 2018 releases, but it still cost more to make than its 2015 predecessor. After Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War helped take the Marvel Cinematic Universe to epic new heights as the franchise celebrates its 10th anniversary, Marvel is closing the year out with something of a palate cleanser. Even Kevin Feige has described Ant-Man and the Wasp as a breath of fresh air, which is being sold to audiences as a comedic romp through this corner of the universe.
By the MCU's lofty standards, the original Ant-Man was a moderate success at the box office, earning $519.3 million worldwide. That figure is only above a trio of Phase 1 installments, illustrating how little clout the Ant-Man sub-franchise has in comparison to other Marvel properties. Still, since the film was budgeted at just $130 million, it did go down as a commercial success. Of course, Feige and company know exactly what the expectations for an Ant-Man movie are, so they made sure they put the sequel in a position where it could thrive. And it all comes down to managing costs.
Related: Ant-Man and the Wasp Character Guide
While there is no official figure for the Ant-Man and the Wasp budget, we can estimate based on Marvel's history. Traditionally, the first sequel to a title, be it the Avengers movies or an individual character film, sees a small bump in production costs. On average, the difference is about $34 million. You can see the comparisons in the space below:
- Iron Man ($140 million) vs. Iron Man 2 ($200 million) = $60 million
- Thor ($150 million) vs. The Dark World ($170 million) = $20 million
- The First Avenger ($140 million) vs. The Winter Soldier ($170 million) = $30 million
- The Avengers ($220 million) vs. Age of Ultron ($250 million) = $30 million
- Guardians of the Galaxy ($170 million) vs. Guardians of the Galaxy 2 ($200 million) = $30 million
Iron Man is the obvious anomaly here. With this information in mind, it's reasonable to assume Ant-Man and the Wasp saw a $30 million raise of its own, which would make the budget $160 million. At most, the sequel likely cost Marvel around $170 million, which is still relatively low compared to its MCU brethren. Black Panther's budget was in the range of $200-210 million, while Infinity War's was reportedly $316-400 million (making it one of the most expensive movies ever made). Even Pixar's Incredibles 2 cost more, with a budget of $200 million. Ant-Man and the Wasp looks to be in the range of last month's Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom ($170 million), which bodes well for its commercial prospects.
Ant-Man and the Wasp is projected to earn about $82 million in its opening weekend. While that number is higher than the previous film, it's still the lowest of Phase 3 so far. However, on its own terms, the sequel should go down as another winner for the MCU. Its break even point should be between $320-340 million worldwide, which is a figure it should easily pass. As stated above, the first Ant-Man grossed $519 million, and with the followup poised to earn even more money, Marvel shouldn't have anything to worry about as their prolonged hot streak continues.
- 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 05, 2019