As was more or less expected, the latest Marvel movie Ant-Man took the #1 position at the box-office in North America over the weekend, though not by much from the animated Minions which is in its second weekend. Ant-Man had a respectable earning of $58 million, though we need to understand it a bit more deeply. To begin with, this was a new character that Marvel had to get you hooked onto, and that is always going to be a tough task. Its superpower of turning as tiny as an ant wouldn’t have helped things much. Paul Rudd, while a talented actor, had never been seen in such a big brand movie before. Keeping those points in mind, the weekend opening is fairly good. But let’s not get carried away and praise Marvel too enthusiastically. The domestic opening of Ant-Man is in fact the second lowest in the Marvel cinematic universe, above only The Incredible Hulk ($55.4 million). It is below even 2011’s Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger which weren’t strong performers financially. Last year, Marvel had sold us another new bunch of superheroes in Guardians of the Galaxy to much aplomb ($94.3 million opening), so Ant-Man seems a lot far away.
Now back to the brighter side. Ant-Man has a production budget of “only” $130 million, which is one of the lowest budgets amongst these Marvel movies. That brings down the box-office figure needed for the movie to break-even; by my calculation, anything above $400 million worldwide would make it a hit. Also, the international markets are much more enthusiastic in accepting a Marvel film ever since 2012’s The Avengers. So Ant-Man should make loads of money overseas which would overshadow the domestic earnings. On the first weekend, the movie has earned $114 million worldwide, and the numbers will increase quickly in the coming weeks. Even if Ant-Man turns in a lower than average earnings figure for Marvel, it would still end up making money for the studio. And having seen Marvel’s works before, we bet they have a bigger plan for this character, right?
Well, now keep the applause going for the other wide release of the weekend, Judd Apatow’s latest R-rated comedy movie, Trainwreck. This $35 million budget film raked in $30 million on its opening weekend in North America, which is quite fantastic. The movie has a high 85% score on Rottentomatoes which would probably add to the strong word-of-mouth and give it a good holding power in the coming weeks. We are likely to see a $100 million+ figure by the time the theatrical run ends, which makes Trainwreck a guaranteed hit. The growing popularity of Amy Schumer has definitely played its part in the success of Trainwreck, and it is such a joy to see female comedians such as Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy and Amy Schumer, and a few more, getting lead roles and capturing a section of the audience who are enjoying their wit and style whole-heartedly. The opening of Trainwreck is in fact marginally better than Melissa McCarthy’s film of this year, Spy ($29.1 million), if the estimates of Trainwreck remain unchanged. Spy has earned $227 million worldwide which includes $107 million from North America so far; Trainwreck may capture lower share in the foreign markets as Amy Schumer would be a fairly new face in many countries, but overall it should be earning more than $100 million comfortably. Way to go!
Minions took a tumble in its second weekend, falling by 57%, but that is the kind of decline which is common among highly anticipated movies where viewership is front-loaded. The reviews of Minions ain’t particularly that great too, so the word-of-mouth is not going to be too strong, as compared to its predecessors. Nonetheless, the movie is already a staggering success with $626 million earned worldwide so far, which includes $217 million from North America. It has its aims set on becoming the fourth movie of the year to reach the billion dollar mark; so let’s see how high this flight can fly! Among the older films, Inside Out has now crossed $300 million in North America (a drop of only 34% seen in even the fifth weekend), and is close to $500 million worldwide. Expect a lot more from the overseas markets in the coming weeks! Jurassic World has inched above Furious 7 with $1,513 million earnings worldwide, and is only a few million dollars shy of crossing the tally of The Avengers. On the other hand, Terminator Genisys, despite a better showing in global markets, is languishing with $277 million worldwide; it needs at least a $100 million more to make a case for a sequel, I would think.
Here are the top 5 weekend earners at the US box-office (estimates):
1. Ant-Man ($58.0 million)
2. Minions ($50.2 million; second weekend)
3. Trainwreck ($30.2 million)
4. Inside Out ($11.7 million; fifth weekend)
5. Jurassic World ($11.4 million; sixth weekend)