‘Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’ Earns $104 Million Box Office Opening

Marvel dodges tepid reviews while “Avatar: The Way of Water” passes “Titanic” on the global box office charts

(L-R): Kathryn Newton as Cassandra "Cassie" Lang and Paul Rudd as Scott Lang/Ant-Man in Marvel Studios' ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA.
Photo by Jay Maidment. © 2022 MARVEL.

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” has become the third film to earn a $100 million-plus opening in February with estimates projecting a $104 million 3-day launch from 4,345 theaters.

That total is 37% higher than the $75.8 million opening earned by the last “Ant-Man and the Wasp” in July 2018 and is the ninth $100 million-plus opening since theaters reopened in spring 2021. When estimates for Presidents’ Day are included, “Quantumania” is estimated to earn a 4-day opening of $118 million, just below pre-release projections of $120 million. As expected, premium formats are helping boost the numbers, accounting for 43% of all tickets sold.

It’s clear that “Ant-Man” and its leading man, Paul Rudd, have built enough audience goodwill to make “Quantumania” critic-proof, at least in the eyes of the hardcore fans who usually turn out for Marvel films on opening weekend. The film has Rotten Tomatoes scores of 48% critics and 84% audience and a B from opening night audiences on CinemaScore which is below the B+ earned by “Thor: Love and Thunder” and DC’s “Black Adam” last year.

Those two films saw significant second-weekend dropoffs, and the mixed word-of-mouth for “Quantumania” may lead to a similar fate next weekend. Still, “Quantumania” should have enough momentum from this opening to pass the $216.6 million domestic total of the last “Ant-Man and the Wasp.” If it passes $258 million, it will have exceeded its predecessor’s total after inflation adjustment.

Overseas, “Quantumania” is seeing solid numbers in most territories with a 3-day international total of $121 million and a global launch of $225 million. Excluding China, the film has earned $102 million from all international territories, just above the $98 million earned by “Ant-Man and the Wasp.”

But in China, the opening weekend for “Quantumania” has plummeted to $19.2 million, down a staggering 71% from “Ant-Man and the Wasp.” The previous six Marvel Studios films were withheld from Chinese theaters along with most Hollywood blockbusters since theaters reopened, and while there are not enough films to gauge whether diminishing Chinese interest in Marvel films extends to all American blockbusters, this may be a warning sign that Hollywood cannot expect China to drive its global gross totals to $1 billion as it did in the 2010s.

“Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” is accounting for 74% of all estimated domestic gross this weekend, so the rest of the top 5 consists of films grossing less than $10 million. In second is 20th Century’s “Avatar: The Way of Water,” which has lost its premium format screens to “Quantumania” and grossed an estimated $7.8 million over four days to bring its domestic total to $658.7 million after ten weekends.

Globally, “Avatar 2” now has a total of $2.24 billion, meaning it has now passed “Titanic” as the third highest-grossing film of all time before inflation adjustment.

Universal/DreamWorks’ “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” is in third with an estimated 4-day total of $6.9 million in its ninth weekend, giving it a total of $167 million domestic and $421 million worldwide. Despite seeing its Christmas weekend opening plummet with the freezing temperatures that hit much of North America during the holidays, “Puss in Boots 2” has now surpassed the box office total of Illumination’s “Sing 2,” which grossed $162 million domestic and $402 million worldwide last year. Overwhelmingly positive word-of-mouth and a lack of family competition have allowed “Puss” to leg out and continue Universal’s strong run over the past year with its animated titles.

Warner Bros.’ “Magic Mike’s Last Dance” is in fourth with $5.5 million 3-day/$6 million estimated 4-day in its second weekend, dropping just 35% from its $8.3 million opening. That’s in part to Warner doubling the film’s theater count to 3,034 locations, bringing the previous HBO Max exclusive film’s total to just over $18 million.

Universal’s “Knock at the Cabin” and Paramount’s “80 for Brady” are neck-and-neck for fifth with “Cabin” having the edge with a $4.4 million 4-day total while “Brady” sits at $4.2 million over four days. After three weekends, the totals for the films stand at $30.9 million for “Cabin” — 20% behind the pace of director M. Night Shyamalan’s last film “Old” — and $32.2 million for “Brady,” which is selling tickets for all screenings at matinee price.

Finally, Fathom Events’ limited engagement screening of the indie horror film “Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey is making $790,000 over the 4-day weekend, according to industry estimates. Released on Wednesday in 450 theaters, the public domain horror film from straight-to-video studio Jagged Edge is estimated to make $1.7 million from theaters over six days.