‘Ant-Man’ Dominates ‘Trainwreck’ at Box Office

20 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Ant-Man’ debuts with $58M; ‘Trainwreck’ opens with $30.2M.

MARVEL action flick “Ant-Man” proved less can be more as it topped the North American box office tally in its debut over the weekend, industry figures showed Sunday. Ant-Man – the latest superhero saga from the Marvel Universe – opened on Friday and the tiny crime-fighter beat out the competition, raking in an estimated $58 million.

AFTER DIRECTOR Edgar Wright left his long-gestating passion project “Ant-Man” more than a year ago, some industry watchers tried to make a mountain out of anthill. The movie – about a thief-turned-hero who wears special armor that makes him tiny but super strong as he undertakes a mission to save the world – posted sales of US$58 million (RM228 million), said box office tracker Exhibitor Relations. Perhaps most refreshingly of all, Scott Lang and his miniature antics were largely unburdened by the storytelling pressures of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. (The same pressures Joss Whedon talked about at length post-Avengers: Age of Ultron.) But while the movie may have been mercifully free of any clunky references to Thanos or Infinity Stones, Marvel did take some pains to tie Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly into the larger world of the Avengers. Starring Paul Rudd, 46, in his first-ever superhero role, the film surpassed heavy-hitters like comedy giant Judd Apatow’s Trainwreck and the Despicable Me spin-off Minions.

That’s a good start for a movie based on a little-known character that cost $130 million to make, but not impressive given the standards Marvel itself has set. The result for Ant-Man didn’t match some of Marvel’s better known and brawnier properties, but the film — a relatively inexpensive superhero movie with a $130 million budget — still dominated North American multiplexes. Trainwreck, starring Amy Schumer as a serial monogamist who finds herself in a relationship, came in third place for the weekend, earning $30.2 million. Apatow’s most successful release as a director, “Knocked Up.” But it’s far below the biggest openings for R-rated comedies, such as last year’s “Neighbors,” which debuted to $49 million. It features the voice of comedian Amy Poehler and follows young Riley as her emotions of joy, fear, anger, disgust and sadness battle it out internally as she copes with a move to a new city. “Jurassic World” dropped from second to fifth place, taking in another US$11.4 million, bringing the dinosaur movie’s overall total to a huge US$611.1 million.

The opening was closest to 2008’s “The Incredible Hulk” ($55 million), the poorly received Edward Norton edition that didn’t spawn further installments. In the small picture, “Ant-Man” represents the second-lowest domestic opening for an MCU film, ahead of only “Incredible Hulk’s” $55 million debut, but significantly behind the first Thor and Captain America films, which each hit the $65 million mark — a target total that the studio reportedly hoped to sniff this time, too.

Rudd is already to appear as Ant-Man in “Captain America: Civil War.” “I say this was a success,” said Paul Dergarabedian, Rentrak’s senior media analyst. “This was never predestined to open with $80 (million) or $100 million. In the big picture, however, “Ant-Man” solidly introduces yet another Avenger, as Rudd’s thief-turned-superhero character Scott Lang is slated to appear in next summer’s “Captain America: Civil War” and beyond. “It’s a sign that they’re doing so much right, and that it’s a brand that has overwhelming momentum,” Disney distribution chief Dave Hollis told Variety about Marvel’s handling of the shrinking superhero’s introduction. Critics are calling Ant-Man’s departure from the typical superhero narrative one of the film’s major strengths, accrediting the early success to its originality. Dropping to eighth place after debuting at number five was Hollywood producer Jason Blum’s latest spine-tingler, “The Gallows,” which took in US$4 million.

Prior to the film’s release, the MCU had the same number of announced films ahead of it (11 — all scheduled to land over the next four years) as had already hit theaters (beginning with 2008’s “Iron Man”). Schumer, who has ridden a wave of popularity recently fueled by her Comedy Central show “Inside Amy Schumer,” drew an audience that was two-thirds female.

The movie, which recalls 1999’s “The Blair Witch Project” for its hand-held camera technique, gives young actors Reese Mishler, Pfeifer Brown, Ryan Shoos and Cassidy Gifford their first substantial roles. Now, as Marvel turns the page on Phase 2, it’s got a steady diet of powerhouse sequels — plus “Doctor Strange,” “Black Panther” and “Captain Marvel” — to keep the express train in high commercial gear. Opening night crowds gave it an average grade of A-, according to market research firm CinemaScore, giving Universal executives hope that positive buzz could keep drawing crowds for weeks to come. It is about a speech-impaired girl from Pakistan who gets lost in India and gets help from a kind-hearted man to find her way home to her family. – AFP

The audience was two-thirds women, Universal said. “Amy Schumer is an absolute talent and should have a great career in the movies,” said Nick Carpou, distribution head for Universal. “The character that she portrays very effectively enables modern women.” Opening in just five locations was Woody Allen’s “Irrational Man,” starring Joaquin Phoenix and Emma Stone. And keeping along our loco-metaphor to the point of popping the linguistic rivets: “Trainwreck,” writer-star Amy Schumer’s debut vehicle, opened to a strong $30.2 million, well exceeding early projections. In the comics, Janet was an original member and co-founder of the Avengers—she’s actually credited with coming up with the name ”Avengers.” Given the way Hayley Atwell’s Agent Carter and was woven into the beginning of Ant-Man and how careful the film was to obscure Janet’s face (first by a mask and then by an over-sized hat in the Pym family photo), it’s clear Marvel is leaving their options open to explore the history of how Janet might have been involved with Peggy and Howard Stark launching S.H.I.E.L.D. And even though Rudd claims this time is different – with Marvel being a large corporation and taking their promotional tours seriously – he continues the running joke by blending his film and a clip from the so-bad-it’s-good sci-fi film. In addition to the core fanboy crowd, it drew more families than most of the company’s super-hero films have, said Disney executive vice president of distribution Dave Hollis, perhaps attracted by its more humorous tone and an action scene with the miniature hero that takes place on a Thomas the Tank Engine play set. “Expanding the audience of who comes to see these movies can have an impact not just on ’Ant-Man,’ but all the Marvel films going forward,” said Mr.

But whether or not young Janet appears in flashbacks or an older Janet finds her way back to Hank from the Subatomic State, the MCU has made Hope Pym the new Wasp (and maybe eventually the Red Queen?) and that she’ll have a part to play in the upcoming Avengers adventures. In second place at the box office this weekend was Universal’s animated “Minions.” Coming off a huge $115.7 million opening, it dropped 57% to $50.2 million, on the high end of second-weekend declines for family animated films. But as joyous as the idea of the future adventures of The Wasp are, some moviegoers were frustrated that it took the whole film for Hank to come around to the idea that Hope was ready to wear a suit. (The film wryly addresses this with Hope’s “About damn time” reaction.) This delay happens despite the fact that Hope’s a better fighter and more capable ant whisperer (I know, I know) than Scott. Hank’s constant, unfounded reasons why Hope wasn’t ready (yes, we know he was thinking of what happened to poor Janet), comes off as about as well-reasoned as Kevin Feige’s real-world argument as to why Marvel has yet to produce a female-led superhero movie.

So why do a superhero movie and play the boring civilian?“ She said she was approached for a character who had “the possibility in the future of becoming something” but, as she put it, “I want to do it now.” The “possibility in the future’ line sounds a lot like what Lilly was working with here in Ant-Man. Nursing guilt and a bruised ego of the fallout of Ultron (which was, let’s face it, mostly his fault), Tony is convinced registering individuals with superhuman abilities and/or advanced tech will protect the world from the increasingly destructive public battles between heroes and villains as well as unpredictable threats if supherhumans turned evil.

Despite (or maybe because of) his patriotic ways, Steve thinks the Superhuman Registration Act is excessive and overreaching and threatens the constitutional freedoms and the safety of superhuman people. So when Steve says, “Who knows if the accords would let” Tony help, he’s implying that he and Stark are already on opposite sides of this agenda by the time he’s got ahold of Bucky. There’s no saying exactly who will fall on which side of the Civil War conflict in the next Marvel movie, but it’s safe to assume, given Scott Lang’s problems with authority, that he’ll align himself with Falcon, Cap, and the small government approach to superhumans.

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