No. 14 ‘Ant-Man’ – 2015 Most Valuable Movie Blockbuster Tournament

When it comes to evaluating the financial performance of top movies, it isn’t about what a film grosses at the box office. The true tale is told when production budgets, P&A, talent participations and other costs collide with box office grosses and ancillary revenues from VOD to DVD and TV. To get close to that mysterious end of the equation, Deadline is repeating our Most Valuable Blockbuster tournament, using data culled by seasoned and trusted sources.


Every time Marvel tries to expand its lineup of superhero films, you always wonder: Is this going to be the one where Kevin Feige hits the wall? It didn’t happen with Guardians of the Galaxy, and it certainly didn’t happen with Ant-Man. On paper, Guardians had a lineup of the fat guy from Parks and Rec, Vin Diesel playing a tree and Zoe Saldana changing color from Avatar blue to green. It seemed like Feige took a drunken bar bet to assemble the worst lineup of superheroes, with the challenge of still launching a hit franchise. Ant-Man is the second closest to that, considering that Paul Rudd has been stereotyped as a staple of comedies and rom-coms, and how compelling is a hero who can shrink to ant size? And the geek god who got everyone excited, Edgar Wright, bailed out in 2014 because of creative differences with Feige, this after he unveiled concept footage at Comic-Con that excited hard-core superhero devotees. Peyton Reed replaced him. Well, just as he did with Guardians, Feige pulled it off again.

Here are the costs and revenues as our experts see them:

Success is relevant in the Marvel universe. Ant-Man can’t compare to the gargantuan grosses of those stronghold Marvel franchises like The Avengers, or even Guardians Of The Galaxy‘s $773M worldwide gross. But this was at least a solid double, as superhero launches go, with a $519M global gross on a $130M negative cost. Talent participations were not out of control, which is the way it usually goes with Marvel movies. The picture opened with a $57M domestic weekend in the heat of July. It received good reviews, an 80% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and critics seemed to appreciate that it didn’t take itself too seriously. The end results speak for themselves: Ant-Man delivered a $103M net profit, and a Cash on Cash Return of 1.31. Marvel is hard at work on Ant-Man And The Wasp, the latter being played by Evangeline Lilly.

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