That’s our gut feeling at this point in time. While one particular tracking service at the high-end is showing $85M, it would not be a shocker if the Peyton Reed-directed follow-up to the 2015 title heads toward $100M. Really. Global start is estimated to be between $125M-$155M perhaps even more.
Why could Ant-Man and the Wasp be jumbo? Several factors:
After Avengers: Infinity War‘s mega-cliffhanger, Marvel fans will be curious about any teases that are hanging around in Ant-Man and The Wasp. Not to mention, the marketplace is ready for another event title in the wake of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom despite the fact that Independence Day falls on a Wednesday (the holiday is typically a slow day at the B.O., so it’s perfect timing that previews begin on Thursday night at 6 PM). In regards to the sequel’s fun factor, it’s more electric than the first one by leaps and bounds further bolstered by reviews that are a tad more stellar than the original at 83% certified fresh to 82% on Rotten Tomatoes. While Fandango shows pre-sales for Ant-Man and the Wasp outpacing Doctor Strange at the same point in time, a deeper MCU title that debuted to $85M, word is most advance ticket sales services are showing the sequel’s pre-sales to being equal or better than last July’s Spider-Man: Homecoming which opened in the U.S./Canada to $117M. The first Ant-Man opened to $57.2M stateside at 3,856 locations.
In Ant-Man and the Wasp, Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang is on house arrest after the events in Captain America: Civil War. His ex-girlfriend Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) and her father Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) believe they have a way to find their long-lost respective mother and wife Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) in the quantum ether. Meanwhile, they’re all pursued by a new enigmatic villain, Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen).
Ant-Man and The Wasp will open at 4,200 theaters stateside on Friday, comprised of 3,000 3D locations, 400+ Imax screens, 660+ premium large format screens and 220+ D-Box/4D locations with a 48% overseas footprint. Already, between Black Panther and Infinity War, Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe at $1.37B accounts for 22% of the year’s $6.24B six month B.O.
Also opening this weekend in U.S. and Canada is Universal-Blumhouse’s The First Purge which previews tonight at 7PM with a full opening tomorrow at roughly 3,000 theaters. Five-day out look for the prequel is between $25M-$36M. The previous The Purge: Election Year opened over the Independence Day holiday two years ago earning a four-day of $36.1M. The fourth Purge cost an estimated $13M net. Election Year yielded close to $45M in profit,while the entire franchise through three movies counts $320M WW. The First Purge opens in 27 overseas markets day-and-date.
Meanwhile, industry sources see the offshore start for Ant-Man and the Wasp in the $50M-$70M range. That $50M looks conservative, even if the opening is missing two of Ant-Man’s Top 5 markets from 2015.
In 2015, Ant-Man finaled with $339M overseas (unadjusted), led by China (at a supersized $105M), the UK, Korea, Mexico, France and Brazil and along with $180.2M stateside, hit $519.3M WW for Disney. Deadline sources estimated that Ant-Man earned close to $104M in profit after all ancillaries.
Ant-Man And The Wasp is scurrying out in about half of the overseas marketplace this weekend, on a somewhat different release pattern than the 2015 original. This one is bypassing European majors France and the UK, but going to Spain and South Korea. Similar to last time, it’s buzzing to superhero-loving Latin America and sitting out China for now as that market revs the July blackout. The Middle Kingdom date is still to be confirmed, but late August is possible, although the last film didn’t go until October.
The original movie’s offshore bow was $58M in the same markets as this frame and at today’s rates. A sequel comp, Captain America: Winter Soldier, took $66M in like-for-likes. Some see a knock-on effect brewing given the gargantuan success of Marvel’s most recent outing, Avengers: Infinity War, and so a $75M+ overseas debut is not out of the question – particularly with Brazil and other markets on school vacations (NB: Brazil is in the World Cup quarter finals on Friday afternoon local time). South Korea, continually a vital Marvel market, is expected to be a big play this frame.
There’s also the consideration that as Incredibles 2 is on a staggered release and that Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom came out four weeks ago already, Ant-icipation should be high for the new summer entry.
Rudd’s overseas profile has grown considerably since 2015 after also appearing in Captain America: Civil War. He and Lilly attended a promotional event and premiere in Taiwan in early June; the movie opens tomorrow there. While Ant-Man got a screening at the CineEurope conference in 2015, the sequel wasn’t shown in its entirety this year (Incredibles 2 was), however extended footage unspooled.
Ant-Man faced off with the mighty Minions in 2015 which gave it a No. 2 studio bow at the international box office. But this time around, it’s Disney’s own Incredibles 2 which is the other major family offering, although staggered. It’s opening in France this weekend, part of the reason why AM&TW are not headed there.
Either way, while it will grab No. 1 for a Hollywood title internationally this weekend, the top slot overall is not assured offshore for the Marvel entry. China is officially launching Dying To Survive which made $7.6M in previews last weekend and releases this Friday in earnest in the Middle Kingdom. It’s got a massive 9.7 rating on Maoyan and will have an Imax component in the PROC where it’s based on a true story and stars big draw Zheng Xu. It’s one to watch.