Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania scores Ant-Man series' biggest opening despite mixed reviews
Marvel's smallest franchise is having a big opening weekend.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania took in $104 million over three days at the domestic box office, the largest opening for the Ant-Man series. This easily surpassed the $75 million debut of 2018's Ant-Man and the Wasp and the $57 million opening of 2015's Ant-Man. It was, however, lower than Marvel's most recent few box office debuts, including Black Panther: Wakanda Forever's $181 million, Thor: Love and Thunder's $144 million, and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness' $187 million.
Still, this was a solid debut that likely improved upon the previous Ant-Man films because Quantumania was advertised as a crucial entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a whole. Jonathan Majors' villain, Kang the Conqueror, is expected to be the next "big bad" of the shared universe similar to Thanos. So Quantumania provides crucial setup for Marvel's next major crossover event, 2025's Avengers: The Kang Dynasty, and likely its sequel, 2026's Avengers: Secret Wars.
But Marvel has hit one big stumbling block in this road map, as Quantumania received a surprisingly mixed reception from both critics and audiences. The film became only the second MCU movie to earn a "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and audiences polled by CinemaScore gave it a B, the lowest grade an MCU film has ever received. Of the studio's 31 movies, just five have earned a CinemaScore grade lower than an A-, and four of those were released in the last two years.
This suggests there's a serious risk that audiences will not be as invested in this new era of Marvel movies as they were leading up to Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, which could make it difficult for the next Avengers films to reach the same box office heights as their predecessors. But The Kang Dynasty and Secret Wars are a few years, and many more Marvel movies, away, so the studio still has plenty of room to grow.
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