After its strong opening weekend, Marvel Studios’ “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” is shaping up to be a historically frontloaded superhero film at the box office, plummeting 69% in its second weekend to $32 million.
Given its mixed reviews and audience reception, analysts and rival distributors were not expecting the third “Ant-Man” movie to make more than $40 million this weekend. But barring a much stronger-than-expected Sunday, this movie will have the largest second-weekend drop in the history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the largest drop for any superhero movie with a $100 million-plus opening since the 69.6% drop of “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” in 2016.
With a 10-day total of $164 million, “Quantumania” should have enough momentum to cross the $200 million mark at the domestic box office. But with such a steep drop it is now questionable whether the film will have enough fuel against stiff March blockbuster competition to even pass the unadjusted $622 million global box office total of the last “Ant-Man and the Wasp” back in 2018.
Currently, “Quantumania” is still ahead of the pace of its predecessor, adding $46.4 million from overseas markets to bring its global box office total to $363.6 million. With “Creed III” coming next weekend, watch to see if “Quantumania” falls another 50% or more in North America. If it does, the third weekend total will sink beneath the $16.5 million earned by the last “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” another sign of weak legs for the film.
While the tepid word-of-mouth was probably the main reason for this drop, “Quantumania” also had strong competition from Universal’s pitch-black comedic thriller “Cocaine Bear,” which did better than expected with a $23 million opening from 3,534 theaters after being projected for a $16-20 million launch.
That result sits between the $13 million opening of “Violent Night” and the $30.4 million opening of “M3GAN,” two recent Universal movies that drew in audiences with their absurd, high-concept premises and which ran trailers for “Cocaine Bear” in the past two months. It’s another victory for comedies at the box office, which aren’t the chart-topping hits that they once were back in the 2000s but, as demonstrated by “Violent Night,” “Ticket to Paradise” and “The Lost City,” can turn a decent profit at the right budget.
With a $35 million production spend before marketing, “Cocaine Bear” should also turn a theatrical profit though, like “Quantumania,” it may have a frontloaded run. Rotten Tomatoes scores are solid at 71% critics and 75% audience, but CinemaScore returned a B- grade, suggesting that the word-of-mouth may not be strong among general audiences who aren’t immediately sold on a film that’s about a cocaine-addicted bear mauling people.
Also beating expectations is Lionsgate/Kingdom Story Company’s “Jesus Revolution,” which opened to $15.5 million from 2,475 theaters including sneak preview screenings on Wednesday and Thursday. The film more than doubled Lionsgate’s projections of a $6-7 million launch.
Characteristic for faith-based films and especially films produced by Kingdom, critics were mixed with a 55% RT score while the audience that turns out for the genre was effusive in its praise with a 99% Rotten Tomatoes score and an A+ on CinemaScore.
It’s another feather in the cap for the partnership between Lionsgate and Kingdom, which was formed in 2019 with the goal of providing wide-release faith-based films to theaters. Kingdom’s films have built a following among Christian audiences, who have now made studio co-founder and “Jesus Revolution” co-director the first filmmaker to earn an A+ on CinemaScore with four films, as this title joins “I Can Only Imagine,” “Woodlawn” and “American Underdog,” all films Erwin directed with his brother and Kingdom co-founder, Andrew.
Christmas holdovers “Avatar: The Way of Water” and “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” complete the Top 5. “Avatar 2” added $4.7 million in its 11th weekend to bring its total to $665 million domestic and $2.26 billion worldwide, while “Puss and Boots 2” added $4.1 million in its 10th weekend to bring its total to $173 million domestic and $442.5 million worldwide, passing “Black Adam” to join the Top 10 highest grossing films of 2022.