'Ant-Man and the Wasp' Tracking for $80M Opening

Ant-Man and the Wasp, Marvel's next outing in their sprawling cinematic universe, is expected to open around $80 million based on current estimates.

That is a mixed bag: while $80 million seems like chicken feed next to the $200 million-plus openings of Avengers: Infinity War and Black Panther, it would represent an increase of over $20 million from the $57 million opening enjoyed by the first Ant-Man in 2015.

Ant-Man overperformed Marvel's modest expectations, and managed to turn a profit by a combination of a lower-than-usual budget for the blockbuster studio and strong international numbers. After years in development limbo, a last-minute loss of both a its director and villain, and relatively little mainstream recognition of the hero, Ant-Man could have been a disaster for the House of Ideas, but instead earned enough to justify a sequel, an expanded buget, and ties to Avengers 4. The sequel is already Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes and director Peyton Reed is talking about what a prospective third film in the franchise might look like (which suggests that the characters did not get "snapped" into oblivion by Thanos at the end of the film).

Nevertheless, the film ranks in the bottom five Marvel movies for both opening weekend and lifetime domestic gross. In both areas, its numbers were downright Ant-Man sized relative to any other post-Avengers Marvel film.

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Doctor Strange, with over $85 million in its opening frame and a lifetime gross of $232 million, was the next-lowest post-Avengers film. Ant-Man's lifetime box office was just over $180 million, making it roughly on par with the first Captain America film and the first Thor.

If interest continues to build in the next few weeks, Ant-Man and the Wasp will likely surpass Thor: The Dark World's opening weekend -- again, around $85 million -- and maybe even come close to movies like Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy, which bowed in the $95 million range.

Ant-Man and the Wasp hits theaters on July 6th. Avengers: Infinity War is in theaters now. Other upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe movies include Captain Marvel on March 8, 2019, Avengers 4 on May 3, 2019, Spider-Man: Far From Home on July 5, 2019 and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 in 2020.

h/t: Variety