Box Office: ‘Ant-Man’ No. 1 With $58M; ‘Trainwreck’ Laughs to $30.2M

19 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

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

NEW YORK (AP) — Marvel’s “Ant-Man” punched above its weight at the weekend box office, debuting with an estimated $58 million, while Amy Schumer’s “Trainwreck” also opened strongly with $30.2 million.

‘Ant-Man’ stars Paul Rudd as Scott Lang, a thief who gets a high-tech suit from a scientist (Michael Douglas) and works with the scientist’s daughter (Evangeline Lilly) to take down an adversary with some special technology of his own (Corey Stoll).For years, this oddball addition to the ever-expanding Marvel movie universe range was slated for direction by Edgar Wright, with a script co-written by fellow Brit Joe Cornish. But when Wright and Marvel parted company in May 2014, leading man Paul Rudd undertook a late-in-the-day rewrite with Anchorman alumnus Adam McKay, while Yes Man’s Peyton Reed stepped into the director’s chair. Not only does the name alone not strike fear into the hearts of criminals — it also, for months, has created doubt even in the minds of those who are true believers in the Marvel movie machine. After assembling the Avengers – twice – and traveling to space with the Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel Studios’ latest endeavor seems like a decidedly small affair, yet it took the studio longer to bring the incredible shrinking superhero to the big screen than it did to boot up Iron Man, enlist Captain America, or nail down Thor for their cinematic debuts.

Unsurprisingly, the resulting film looks like a bodge, torn between the quirkiness of Wright and Cornish’s original vision and the more blandly mainstream sensibilities of its ultimate key players. The storied history of the “Ant-Man” film goes back eight years when “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuss” director Edgar Wright and writer Joe Cornish were originally attached to the project. Rudd is ex-con Scott Lang, jailed for a lovably anti-corporate crime, now struggling to hold down a job and reconnect with his estranged daughter (yes, it’s Ant-erstellar, in more ways than one). The good news: Fans who love their Marvel comic books, as well as their Marvel live-action adaptations, can watch “Ant-Man” and feel as though the company hasn’t missed a beat. After working on several drafts of the script, Marvel and Wright declared last May before production was set to start that they had parted ways “due to differences in their vision.” A little over a year later, “Ant-Man” has arrived in theaters to tell the story of how do-gooder thief Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) inherited a high-tech get-up from scientist Hank Pym (Michael Douglas).

And if you go a step further and happen to be a fan of writer Nick Spencer’s ongoing, very funny Ant-Man book from Marvel Comics, you’ll especially enjoy a movie that could be Marvel’s funniest — it’s right up there with “Guardians of the Galaxy.” Marvel, after all, made you love a tree. It’s a peculiar superpower of which the film never quite gets the measure: bath-tub terrors and in-briefcase battles are kooky fun, but action sequences in which Scott mounts flying insects smack of Richard Burton riding the wings of a locust in Exorcist II: The Heretic.

He shrinks, expands, and talks to bugs. “I liked that after ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron,’ which was amazingly big with cities falling out of the sky, this was a street-level story,” said “Bring It On” director Peyton Reed, who was brought on after Wright’s departure. “Scott Lang is a normal guy with no powers, and he’s sucked into this bizarre world. That was a cool arc that I hadn’t really seen in a Marvel movie.” Besides Reed’s last-minute addition, Rudd and his “Anchorman” writer-director pal Adam McKay were tapped to rework the script. You have to balance it.” The biggest difference for “Ant-Man,” which centers on Lang’s attempt to nab Cross’ technology, is that it’s as much of a family drama as it is a heist film or superhero flick. Probably only Robert Downey Jr. himself knows just how many cinematic adventures he has left in a suit of armor, yet the future of other Marvel funnymen is quite bright. Rudd will reprise his role in next year’s “Captain America: Civil War,” which depicts a divide between superheroes siding with Cap and those aligning with Iron Man.

Michael Douglas (Hank Pym/the original Ant-Man) and Evangeline Lilly (Hope van Dyne) have to turn the new Ant-Man into a hero, while working under a deadline. Hank Pym isn’t just the original Ant-Man; he’s also a former bigwig at S.H.I.E.L.D who reluctantly became one of their top agents — and who grew to fear that his mind and technology weren’t being maximized in the world’s best interest. “Ant-Man” provides a fun look back at the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s past, with special-guest stars from other corners of the Marvel universe who would have still been “active-duty” during that time period. Because we’ve got a hero and a villain (Corey Stoll’s Darren Cross/Yellowjacket is pretty menacing from the get-go) who spend a lot of battle time being super-tiny, our enjoyment gains another dimension. As Yellowjacket and Ant-Man pummel each other, the epic destruction looks practically apocalyptic when placed under a magnifying glass, but — when we get a big-picture glance — it has the effect of wind knocking over a paper cup.

Bonus takeaway: As “Easter egg” teases to future films, listen to the specific superpowers described by a woman journalist — and pay careful attention to what you may glimpse in the subatomic realm.

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