Friday Box Office: Small Victory for ANT-MAN; TRAINWRECK on Track for Strong Debut

     July 18, 2015


I thought this day would never come. Ant-Man has finally made it to theatres. The long (long!) in-development adaptation of the comic character is the twelfth feature in the Marvel Cinematic Universe series and the sixth (and final) entry in MCU’s Phase Two. And after all the ups and down of the production, many of us wondered how the film would play at the box office. Would Marvel pull off another surprise win, in the mode of Guardians of the Galaxy? Or would Ant-Man wind up an odd footnote, more like The Incredible Hulk?

ant-man-poster-1So far, it looks like we’re closer to the latter. According to studio estimates, Ant-Man earned $22.6 million from 3,856 locations on Friday, including $6.4 million from Thursday evening shows. That marks the second-lowest opening day in MCU history, topping only the $21.5 million of 2008’s The Incredible Hulk.

Weekend projections for Ant-Man went as high as $65 million – a number that both Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger hit in their respective debuts. After Friday’s estimate, it looks like $57 million is a more likely target. That’s a number that a lot of summer pics would envy (Terminator: Genisys, for example). But this is Marvel we’re talking about. Their lowest MCU opening remains $55.4 million for (surprise!) The Incredible Hulk.

On the plus side, American audiences seem to love Ant-Man. The completely unscientific CinemaScore gives the film an ‘A’, which is equal to last summer’s Guardians of the Galaxy and higher than both Thor and Captain America. Critical reception has been more mixed, though Rotten Tomatoes has certified Ant-Man fresh at 80 percent. That should give the film legs in North America – aside from its global potential, which remains unquestioned.

If Ant-Man looks like it will come in a bit under expectations, Universal’s Trainwreck is right on target. The R-rated comedy written by (and starring) Amy Schumer earned an estimated $10.7 million on Friday. That’s the best single day ever for director Judd Apatow, besting the $9.8 million of 2007’s Knocked Up. Trainwreck is still expected to earn $30 million this weekend, though strong word of mouth could propel it a bit higher.

After a big debut one week ago, Minions was down a substantial 68% on its second Friday. At one point it looked like the animated hit might challenge Ant-Man for first place this weekend, but Universal said today that it was expecting a sophomore take of $46 million. In other news from Universal, on Friday Jurassic World became just the fourth film in history to earn over $600 million at the domestic box office. It took the blockbuster 36 days to hit that milestone. Marvel’s The Avengers took 54 to reach the same goal in 2012.

Here’s Friday’s top five, based on studio estimates. We’ll have complete box office details and the weekend top ten tomorrow.

 Title Friday Total
1.  Ant-Man $22,640,000 $22.6
2.  Minions $14,600,000 $181
3.  Trainwreck $10,700,000 $10.7
4.  Inside Out $3,376,000 $298
5.  Jurassic World $3,200,000 $602.9


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