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Can ANT-MAN Keep the Marvel Cinematic Universe's Box Office Hot Streak Going?

Ant-Man hits theaters this weekend, finally bringing the tiny superhero to the big screen after a decade of development. The behind-the-scenes saga for Ant-Man is well known by this point — Edgar Wright had worked on the film for years but left the project last spring due to creative differences and was replaced by Peyton Reed.

Based on the reviews we've already gotten for Ant-Man, the movie is a critical hit. It boasts a 74 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which is just one point shy of earning Certified Fresh recognition. (There've been a few websites trying to push the idea that Ant-Man is Marvel's first big bomb, but I'm pretty sure those sites are just trying to get your clicks.)

So how will Ant-Man do at the box office? That's what matters most, right? Even if a Marvel Cinematic Universe movie doesn't earn stellar reviews, these things pretty much print money these days.

A lot of box office analysts are pegging Ant-Man for a $65 million opening weekend. For most movies, that would be a great opening weekend. For a Marvel Cinematic Universe movie, though, $65 million would be a disappointment.

A $65 million opening weekend would put Ant-Man right in line with what Thor and Captain America: The Winter Soldier opened to in 2011.

The Avengers then-record-setting $207.4 million opening weekend in 2012 changed everything. After that opening weekend, the box office prospects of the Marvel Cinematic Universe rose dramatically. Since The Avengers opened, every movie in this universe has opened to at least $85 million. With the exception of Thor: The Dark World, that minimum opening weekend number jumps to $95 million.

Ant-Man could be a return to the pre-Avengers opening weekends — and it could be a sign of the future for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Marvel Studios may find itself with two distinct types of opening weekends: The massive box office hauls from Avengers, Captain America and Guardians of the Galaxy sequels and the smaller weekends from new properties like Doctor Strange, Captain Marvel and Black Panther.

Even if these newer franchises like Ant-Man muster only $65 million opening weekends, the $100 million (and higher) opening weekends from that first group will make it worth it.

Of course, Ant-Man could surprise us and open with $85 million this weekend and render this entire conversation moot.
Can ANT-MAN Keep the Marvel Cinematic Universe's Box Office Hot Streak Going? Reviewed by Bill Kuchman on 7/15/2015 Rating: 5

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