Marvel Studios is not having a good week at all. Their latest installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, dropped considerably in its second weekend. It is the biggest second-week drop in MCU history and the second-biggest second-week drop for a superhero film behind Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Dropping at 69%, the movie made a meager $32.2 million in its second week, but has still grossed over $363.6 million worldwide.
At the end of its run, it’ll likely be the highest-grossing Ant-Man film, but this precipitous drop should hopefully wake up Marvel and Disney that the MCU desperately needs an overhaul. Is superhero fatigue to blame? Or is the MCU dead? Absolutely not, but negative word-of-mouth on social media and through reviews were the likely cause. But look at 2018’s Venom as an example. The film was ripped apart by critics (it is currently sitting at 30% on Rotten Tomatoes) and was a massive box office success, grossing over $856.1 million worldwide. A sequel was immediately greenlit and was a massive success for Sony during the COVID-19 pandemic. It got better reviews than the first, which helped tremendously.
Superhero movies are usually critic-proof, but if the word of mouth is too negative amongst fans, it will not benefit the film in its second week. Look at Batman v. Superman or, worse yet, Justice League, which flopped at the box office! DC’s Avengers-level team-up film tanked miserably, while Aquaman made over $1 billion worldwide the following year. Superhero movies are still dominating the box office, even if Film Twitter will go to great lengths in making you believe that “comic book movies are DONE!” They’re not. Like any genre, it has its ups and downs, but they have perdured on our screens (big and small) for over seventy years.
It is still wild that Cocaine Bear almost mauled (sorry) Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania at the box office. The film grossed over $23 million domestically in its first weekend over a considerably small $35 million budget. It’s another win for Universal after Knock at the Cabin. However, they must learn to wait at least 45 days before releasing their films digitally. Universal has been releasing its movies on VOD two weeks after their initial release (there have been exceptions with F9: The Fast Saga and NOPE to name a few). While this was fine during COVID-19 lockdowns, now that the box office has mostly returned to normal, it’s important for film studios to embrace theatrical and wait before putting their films out on video on demand. Here’s hoping that Oppenheimer, which will play in theatres for 100 days, will remind Universal just how powerful the theatrical experience can be and will cause them to restructure their business model.
Jesus Revolution also did considerably well, grossing over $15.5 million in its first week. That is not bad at all, but the movie likely wouldn’t have made an impression if it wasn’t helmed by one of the Erwin brothers, who have directed some of the most successful faith-based films in recent memory, which include I Can Only Imagine, I Still Believe and American Underdog. It will surely outgross I Still Believe since its run was cut short due to COVID-19, but will it outperform I Can Only Imagine? That will be hard to pull off…
Here’s the full list of the top ten films for the week:
- Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (Disney): $32.2M (-69.7%) – 4,345 theatres
- Cocaine Bear (Universal): $23.0M – 3,534 theatres
- Jesus Revolution (Lionsgate): $15.5M – 2,475 theatres
- Avatar: The Way of Water (Disney): $4.7M (-28.2%) – 2,495 theatres
- Puss in Boots: The Last Wish (Universal): $4.1M (-22.8%) – 2,840 theatres
- Magic Mike’s Last Dance (Warner Bros): $1.89M (-65.2%) – 2,918 theatres
- Knock at the Cabin (Universal): $1.87M (-52.9%) – 2,115 theatres
- 80 for Brady (Paramount): $1.83M (-51.2%) – 2,397 theatres
- Missing (Sony): $1.0M (-42.2%) – 1,006 theatres
- A Man Called Otto (Sony): $850.000 (-46.9%) – 1,118 theatres
Source: Box Office Mojo