Oroville Mercury-Register

Ant-Man opens big at box office with $104M

- By Jake Coyle

Phase five of the Marvel Cinematic Universe may have gotten off to a rocky start, but Ant-Man is bigger than ever at the box office.

“Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumani­a” opened with $104 million in domestic ticket sales, according to studio estimates Sunday, easily surpassing the boxoffice debuts of the previous two Ant-Man films. The Walt Disney Co.'s “Quantumani­a” added another $121.3 million overseas to give the pint-sized hero a $225 million global launch.

It's easily the largest opening of the year so far. And “Quantumani­a” did so despite an atypically poor reception for the 31st MCU film. “Quantumani­a,” starring Paul Rudd as Ant-Man, Evangeline Lilly as the Wasp and Jonathan Majors as Kang the Conqueror, sits at 48% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, making it the only MCU film to rank as rotten beside “The Eternals” (47%).

Audiences also weren't thrilled with “Quantumani­a,” giving it a “B” CinemaScor­e. “The Eternals” is the only other MCU film to receive a CinemaScor­e that low.

Those scores will pose the biggest concern for Marvel as it continues to unroll phase five of the MCU, following mixed reviews for the post-”Avengers: Eternals” phase four of the comic-book franchise. Up next is “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” in May.

But good reviews or not, theaters hope “Quantumani­a” — the first blockbuste­r of the year — is a sign of things to come. After the turmoil of the past three years, there are some 30 more wide releases planned for 2023.

“It will feel almost in the coming weeks like a pre-pandemic moviegoing environmen­t in terms of the marketplac­e,” said Paul Dergarabed­ian, senior media analyst for data firm Comscore. “That's very good news coming off a very tumultuous past two, three years. This is the start of a big many months for this industry. We've sort of been in the waiting room with holdovers like `Avatar' and others.”

The first “Ant-Man” launched with $57.2 million domestical­ly in 2015, the smallest opening for any movie in the MCU. It ultimately earned $519.3 million worldwide.

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