Saying that Ant-Man underperformed at the US box office in its opening weekend would be an understatement. The movie marks the lowest opening weekend for Marvel, falling behind (or ahead, depending on how you look at it) only to The Incredible Hulk. With only $3 million more made in the first 3 days on American soil, Ant-Man can be considered a disappointment.
But only from this point of view - other than that, other than the box-office success (so far), the movie is actually a hit. Check out why we believe that Ant-Man is actually a better Marvel movie in the biggest franchise to date!
Ant-Man - small budget, smaller box-office earnings
It is no wonder that Ant-Man has made much less money in the US in its opening weekend. On a budget of just $130 million, the movie made just $58 million, falling short from even the least favorable predictions. In this way, as far as Marvel is concerned (who is used to make the budget of its films back within the first week or so), Ant-Man is actually a flop.
However, we must keep in mind one thing: nobody knew who Ant-Man was. And still the movie managed to make almost $120 million worldwide in its first week. And that says a lot. And we don't actually believe that the audiences flocked to see the movie because it was a Marvel film. Instead, the premise of a heist film with superheroes, marketed as such and in a very inventive manner, was the one that convinced the moviegoers that the movie was worth the while.
So, in this case, we can say that Ant-Man surpassed expectations. As far as unknown superheroes are concerned, it did quite well at the box office. For example, Guardians of the Galaxy (which is another hit with unknown superheroes) benefited from a huge budget (around $170 million). In both cases, word of mouth did wonders.
On the next page, the premise!
The heist movie
Marvel likes to experiment with different genres. We've seen Captain America: The Winter Soldier as the political thriller and action vehicle, as well as Guardians of the Galaxy as the space opera. For Ant-Man, the studio switched to heist movies with a twist.
Sure enough, this can also be considered one of the faults of the movie. Many have said that Ant-Man is a bit slouchy in its first act - but that is how heist movies usually work. They have to build towards the grand finale.
And it pays off big time in the third act. And not just because of the action sequences"¦
On the next page, the MCU connections!
The bigger picture
When it comes to Marvel's franchise, each movie must contain references to the other MCU movies, if not completely setting them up. From this point of view, Captain America: The First Avenger was called many a times a big commercial for the first Avengers movie. In the same way, Avengers: Age of Ultron was rather disappointing, and not just because the director didn't find the right formula to give each superhero its own plotline. It fell short because it had to setup many Phase III movie, with Civil War and Infinity War being the biggest one.
Ant-Man didn't have to carry the same burden. It was an origin story with quite a few Easter-Eggs, but it was actually pretty self-contained. It was fun because the director(s) didn't have to worry too much about what happens next.
Sure enough, the movie did introduce us to possible future movies (Doctor Strange, for example). However, it didn't do it in a most obvious way, as it has happened with the above mentioned titles. From this point of view, Ant-Man was way better!
On the next page, the origin story!
Ant-Man doesn't contain just Scott Lang's origin story. It also contains the backstory of Hank Pym. Sure enough, it takes time to set these up - and, as said, people might have found this a bit boring. However, at the end of the film, you actually know who the main characters are. The viewer knows who they are as much as they know the superstars of the MCU.
We know why they chose a certain path, just like we know the obstacles they encountered. We know their position towards the other superheroes, just like we know that they are mere humans with a huge burden to carry. Ant-Man, from this point of view, is one of the best (if not the best) origin story Marvel came up with since the first Iron Man film.
And that does say a lot about this movie.
On the next page, the most interesting aspect of this heist superhero movie!
The MCU expanding
Since we've mentioned Iron Man, we must say that we don't know anything about the technology behind it. Sure enough, it is a powerful source of energy contained in a small device/battery. But that is about all.
The same goes, for the moment, with the Pym particles introduced in Ant-Man. However, in this case, their scope is a lot more different and actually detailed. They act as a means of transportation between dimensions. And their principles lay in the quantum physics.
Sure enough, the reasoning behind the process is mind-bending and in no way scientifically acceptable. However, the mere fact that a few lines were introduced in the film about the process makes this origin story much more understandable.
We've mentioned word of mouth before. It pays a lot having celebrities talk about a movie. James Gunn (director of Guardians of the Galaxy) called Ant-Man one of the most fun times he's spent at the movies. And we do believe that the introduction of the Quantum Realm played an important part in his appraisal of Ant-Man.
Of course, these are just a few of the reasons why this movie can be considered a hit. Do you have any more of these?