Marvel’s Ant-Man and the Wasp continued the studio’s streak of No. 1 debuts at the box office by taking the top spot with an estimated $76 million, a solid increase over its predecessor, 2015’s Ant-Man.
The 20th movie in the MCU still ranks among the lower echelon of the MCU franchise, the 16th highest debut out of 20 movies, while Ant-Man ranks as the 19th highest debut with $57.2 million, just ahead of the lowest debut of $55.4 million set by The Incredible Hulk in 2008. While the Ant-Man and the Wasp opening weekend did manage to exceed the debut of its predecessor, the increase wasn’t quite as big as other second movies within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The Ant-Man and the Wasp opening weekend estimate of $76 million marked a roughly 25% increase over the Ant-Man debut, which is just slightly better than the 24% increase that 2010’s Iron Man 2 ($128.1 million) posted over its predecessor, 2008’s Iron Man ($98.6 million), and the 24% uptick that 2013’s Thor: The Dark World ($85.7 million) posted over its predecessor, 2011’s Thor ($65.7 million). Still, it came up far shorter than every other second movie in the MCU to this point.
The biggest increase from an MCU sequel to its origin movie is 2017’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 ($146.5 million), which posted a 36% increase over 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy ($94.3 million) while 2011’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier ($95 million) posted a 32% increase over 2014’s Captain America: The First Avenger ($65 million). Still, not every second MCU entry manages to out-do its first movie, with 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron ($191.2 million) falling short of 2012’s The Avengers ($207.4 million), which held the record for the highest debut in box office history for three years, before it was dethroned by 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($247.9 million).
Ant-Man and the Wasp also put up a decent $85 million from foreign markets for a worldwide debut of $161 million. The international opening marks a strong 45% increase over the international debut of Ant-Man, and it managed to put up these solid numbers without the help of a release in China, the second largest box office market in the world. There is currently no planned China release for Ant-Man and the Wasp, likely due to the annual Chinese “blackout” of non-Chinese films that happens between late June and early September. The original Ant-Man fared well in the Middle Kingdom, posting a $42.7 million debut with a total of $105.3 million, by far the biggest international market for the film. It did open in China in October 2015, three months after its domestic debut, so it’s possible Marvel could open this sequel in China after the country’s summer “blackout.”
Ant-Man and the Wasp did make some very big strides in other international markets, compared to the original. The MCU sequel debuted with $20.9 million in South Korea, a 78% leap from the original that nearly eclipsed the $21.2 million the original earned in its entire theatrical run there. It also debuted in Mexico with $6.7 million, a 21% jump from the $5.3 million debut of the original.
While the international debut falls far short of many MCU sequels, Ant-Man and the Wasp has a more staggered release strategy than most, with the movie still slated to open in key international territories later this month such as France (July 18), Germany (July 26), the U.K. (August 3), Italy (August 14), Portugal (August 15) and Japan (August 31), with the Chinese date still yet to be determined.
Ant-Man and the Wasp will most certainly be on track to exceed the $180.2 million domestic, $339.1 million foreign and $519.3 million worldwide marks put up by the original Ant-Man, likely topping out between $250 million and $300 million domestic and $700 million and $750 million worldwide. While those numbers still fall far below the studio’s blockbusters from earlier this year, Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War, they prove that there is still an audience for these beloved title characters played by Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lily, even if it’s not quite as big as other MCU hits.