Ant-Man and The Wasp is projected to have the lowest opening at the domestic box office of all Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 3 movies. The upcoming film, which is directed by Peyton reed, is a sequel to Reed's 2015 film, Ant-Man., starring Paul Rudd as Scott Lang, aka Ant-Man. The first movie focused on his origin, but the sequel sees him teaming up with Hope Van Dyne/The Wasp (Evangeline Lilly) and her father, Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), in order to stop the mysterious Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen) and rescue her mother, Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer).
The character Ant-Man quickly resonated with audiences and critics alike, thanks in part to a quirky performance from Rudd. Along with compelling and hilarious supporting characters, and a more lighthearted, low-stakes plot, Ant-Man proved both a stark contrast and a welcome change of pace to the previous MCU release: Avengers: Age of Ultron. With the sequel following from the emotional roller coaster that was Avengers: Infinity War, Marvel Studios are hoping that another (relatively) lighthearted adventure is enough for a palette cleanse for MCU fans.
Variety reports Ant-Man and The Wasp is projected to open somewhere between $70 million and $80 million domestically over its opening weekend. With overseas release not due until after the World Cup in some countries - it won't open in the U.K. until August, much to the chagrin of one of the stars - all revenue will be generated domestically for the time being. If estimates prove correct, Ant-Man and The Wasp will see the lowest turnout of MCU's Phase 3, falling behind Doctor Strange, which opened to $85 million in 2016.
Compared to the likes of Black Panther, which is still riding high financially, netting nearly $700 million domestically and over a billion globally, the numbers look even more dramatically low. But the projected number shouldn't be an indication of superhero fatigue, however, as it should be noted that even at $80 million, the projection is still a significant step up from the first movie. Ant-Man opened to $57 million domestically in 2015, meaning that tracking is way up for the sequel. It ended up grossing $180 million in the U.S. throughout its theatrical run; it stands to reason that the sequel could cross the $200 million mark.
The popularity of Scott Lang/Ant-Man also likely grew following the character's appearance in Captain America: Civil War. Coupling this an increased billing for Lilly as Wasp, who was one of the standouts of the original - as well as a villain considerably more compelling than Yellowjacket - all signs point to the sequel being another box office hit for the studio, though it should be noted that box office hits can vary. Not every movie needs to hit a billion dollars to be considered a blockbuster success.
So, while fans remains in the dark on Ant-Man 3, hope remains high that Marvel's smallest (and sometimes largest) heroes will get to round out their own standalone trilogy at some point in the future, but that's something they'll just have to wait and see. After all, a sequel is also based on box office performance, not just a need for more story.
- 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