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After the opening weekend box office numbers came in for Marvel’s latest superhero flick, Ant-Man, it seemed like the massive franchise had taken a hit. The tiny superhero brought in a tiny number compared to its Avenger friends. But, despite a low box office showing, the movie still took number one seat over the weekend. When comparing Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man to other players in the MCU, he may seem like a huge flop at first glance. But, in reality, the film was actually a great success for the world’s mightiest franchise, and there are four big reasons why.
Reduced BudgetMarvel Studios has become quite comfortable dominating the box office. This time around may have been the second lowest opening weekend gross in their franchise history (beating out The Incredible Hulk), but it comes with a much lower budget then the studio is used to. Marvel was able to make Ant-Man on a budget of about $130 million. That’s almost 100 million less than the first Avengers. Granted, this was an origin story for a much lesser-known character than we’ve previously been introduced to, but even so, Guardians of the Galaxy was in a similar boat name-recognition wise, and they still had a budget close to $200 million as well.
Ant-Man brought in $58 million this weekend domestically. On top of the growing international box office, that puts the film at $114 million worldwide. If you start comparing this to lets say The Avengers or even lesser known Guardians of the Galaxy that seems very low. But for the budget, and smaller size of the film (and its titular character), Marvel can take this a fairly solid win at the box office. Not to mention, this is the first origin story of a single character we’ve seen in a while, and definitely one of the better ones for that matter.
Best Origin Story We’ve Seen In A Long TimeNot only is Ant-Man able to introduce Scott Lang, the Ant-Man we will soon see inserted along our current Avengers, but it is also able to seamlessly insert the backstory of Hank Pym as well. It is able to satisfy the avid comic book fans, searching for reference into the original Ant-Man storyline, as much as it informs new fans of a character they may have never previously heard of. Like any origin story, it starts slow with the build to Scott Lang even first finding the suit. But by the end of the film, you know these characters, arguably as well as you know Steve Rogers or Tony Stark.
The film explores everything from Ant-Man’s motivations to his darker, mysterious paths (for both Ant-Mans). This wasn’t just a movie about Scott Lang. It was a movie about the origin of Ant-Man as a hero, and it was a strong and emotional journey that we haven’t seen with a Marvel character in a while, maybe even since the first Iron Man movie. There are characteristics between Iron Man and Ant-Man that are quite similar (though Hank Pym sure doesn’t like that comparison), but more so, it is the way both origin stories explore the characters’ humanity that make them even more successful. For Scott Lang, and Hank Pym, they are first and foremost, fathers, with their own internal struggles outside wearing the Ant-Man suit.
And like any good origin story, Scott Lang must learn how to hone his newfound power, which makes a mentor like Hank Pym that much more important. The time spent on following Scott through his journey of learning to wear the suit, to discovering each species of ant and how to use them to his advantage is also time that we learn more about the man underneath the suit, and his friends helping him complete the mission. But what makes Ant-Man even further successful, is that it is so much more than just an origin story. It also begins to set up a few important elements for future Marvel movies.
Sets The Stage For Marvel's FutureSome minor spoilers ahead. Skip to the next Big Reason if you haven’t caught Ant-Man quite yet.
Ant-Man works as an important stepping stone into Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As Kevin Feige previously explained, there are three key concepts that are incredibly important in setting up the future films. For one, this new hero is put on the Avengers radar. We see him go face-to-face with a New Avenger in the film, and by the end of the film is contacted by the team. Also, a new technology, the Pym particles have now been introduced into the Universe. And if we’ve learned anything from Iron Man and Thor when a new technology is introduced, it usually comes back when you least expect it. We also have been introduced to the Quantum Realm, a concept that is going to become extremely important in connecting some of the more seemingly obscure films in the franchise, such as Doctor Strange. There’s even possibility that the Quantum Realm could play particular importance in Avengers: Infinity War when we finally see the Infinity Stones at work.
But that’s just the beginning for setting up the future of Marvel. The post-credits of the film tease two incredibly important moments. In the mid-credit scene we see tease introducing The Wasp into the MCU which will undoubtedly play some important role in the future (if not just to add some more bad ass females to the mix). And then, the post-credits sequence reveals some of the biggest news yet, a sneak peak into what will be happening come Captain America: Civil War. Winter Soldier has been found, and is now being held by Captain America and Falcon. But the two need help with this heavy project, and after insinuating some sort of change in relations (and the inability to call Tony Stark), Falcon claims he knows just who to call. It’s safe to assume that call may be heading straight towards Scott Lang. While we can’t be sure yet, his decision in helping these two could set the stage for which side Ant-Man falls on in Civil War.
Audiences Are Loving ItAnd last, but certainly not least, is that despite the box office numbers, everyone who has seen it, in the majority, are loving Ant-Man. Currently, Ant-Man scored an "A" Cinema Score, the same as Guardians of the Galaxy. And the reviews for the latest Marvel flick have for the most part been incredibly positive. Audiences are seriously loving the little guy which proves the movie’s success considering the character himself doesn’t come with the same initial appeal as more well-known Marvel heroes.
So while the numbers this weekend may have represented a lack of interest, the results after seeing the film could boost those numbers dramatically. Along with the positive reviews, and word-of-mouth from fans who enjoyed the film, it could translate to a higher box office gross in the weeks to come, proving not only critical success, but also the box office success that Marvel strives for.
There’s very little chance we’ll see Ant-Man reaching any Avengers numbers during its time in theaters, but for those of us who have been aching for a terrific origin story and some meaningful teases into the future of the MCU, this movie was a complete success.