Ant-Man King of the Box Office Insects with $58 Million Haul

Disney and Marvel’s Ant-Man scored the number one spot at the North American box office this weekend. The latest Marvel superhero to make the leap to movie screens beat out fellow newcomer Trainwreck, which scored a solid opening in third. The strong bows for Ant-Man and Trainwreck helped boost the top ten 38% over last year at this time when Dawn of the Planet of the Apes led with $36.2 million.

It’s been a long journey to bring Ant-Man to the big screen. The project began its life with Marvel Studios back in 2006 when it was announced that Shaun of the Dead director Edgar Wright was set to direct and co-write the screenplay with Joe Cornish (Attack the Block). Script revisions and other roadblocks delayed Ant-Man from going before the cameras until mid 2014. By that time, Peyton Reed had replaced Wright as director, actor Patrick Wilson bowed out of a supporting role due to scheduling conflicts and Reed, Adam McKay and film lead Paul Rudd overhauled Cornish and Wright’s screenplay.

Even with all of the behind-the-scenes drama hanging over its head, Ant-Man emerged victorious in his debut even if the figures were below expectations. The $130 million Disney/Marvel production arrived in 3,856 theaters on Friday to earn an estimated $58 million. An additional $56 million was brought in from foreign markets. Despite the production troubles, reviews were overall solid for the latest Marvel origin story. Ant-Man earned a solid 79% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, a 64/100 score on Metacritic and an “A” rating from ticket buyers on CinemaScore.

Prior to opening, Disney was forecasting an opening in the low-to-mid $60 million range, which would have given Ant-Man numbers in the same area as the first Captain America and Thor features. Ant-Man’s opening was roughly 11-12% lower than those two features. While the film may not reach the box office highs that those two features did four years ago, it should have a solid late summer road ahead of it thanks to the strong feedback from critics and ticket buyers.

Universal’s Minions cooled their heels a bit in their second weekend but still managed to snag $50.2 million from 4,311 theaters, which was more than enough for second place. The two-week domestic total for the animated comedy is a big $216.7 million. International numbers are even better at $409.1 million.

The 57% drop in business was to be expected given the huge opening. The true test as to whether audiences are enjoying the Despicable Me spin off will come next weekend. Even if the film continues to experience steep drops, it should have no problem clearing the $300 million mark domestically and the one billion dollar mark worldwide.

Universal’s incredible winning streak continued with the opening of the R-rated comedy Trainwreck. Written by and starring popular comic Amy Schumer, the Judd Apatow-directed feature landed in third place with an estimated $30.2 million from 3,158 theaters. Reviews were solid for the $35 million comedy, which co-stars Bill Hader and NBA superstar LeBron James. Trainwreck earned an 85% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, a 75/100 score on Metacritic and an “A-“ on CinemaScore. The opening is the second biggest debut for Apatow as a director. Trainwreck opened just slightly behind the $30.7 million opening for his 2007 hit Knocked Up.

The Disney/Pixar blockbuster Inside Out showed no signs of slowing down in its fifth week on 3,263 screens. The animated feature was only off 34%, earning $11.6 million to bring its domestic total to $306 million. A final stateside haul of $340 million is possible. Inside Out has earned $184 million from select foreign markets so far and will continue to roll out to markets such as the United Kingdom and Japan over the next few months.

Marching right along on 3,117 screens in its sixth weekend was Universal’s Jurassic World with a weekend haul of $11.4 million. Off 37%, Jurassic World has earned a superb $611 million in North America alone and an additional $902 million overseas. The latter number should pass the billion-dollar milestone once the movie opens in Japan in August. By this time next week the film should pass The Avengers to become the third biggest film of all time domestically and globally.

The remainder of the top ten was:

6.  Terminator: Genisys (Paramount) $5.4 million (-61%); $77.4 million

7.  Magic Mike XXL (Warner) $4.5 million (-53%); $58.6 million

8.  The Gallows (Warner) $4 million (-59%0; $18 million

9.  Ted 2 (Universal) $2.7 million (-52%); $77.4 million

10. Mr. Holmes (Roadside Attractions) $2.48 million (NEW); $2.48 million

Next weekend sees the arrival of Pixels, Paper Towns and Southpaw. Pixels should give Ant-Man a run for its money in the battle for number one.

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