Thu | Aug 17, 2017

Ant-Man an unlikely box office hero

Published:Monday | July 20, 2015 | 7:00 AM
Kevin and Bob are recruited by a supervillain in 'Minions'.
Paul Rudd stars in ‘Ant-Man’.
Channing Tatum returns to the stage in 'Magic Mile XXL'.
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NEW YORK (AP):

Marvel's Ant-Man punched above its weight at the weekend box office, debuting with an estimated US$58 million, while Amy Schumer's Trainwreck also opened strongly with US$30.2 million.

The result for Ant-Man didn't match some of Marvel's better known and brawnier properties. But Ant-Man - a relatively inexpensive superhero movie with a US$130 million budget - still dominated North American multiplexes, edging out the little yellow guys of Universal's Minions, which took in US$50.2 million in its second week.

Ant-Man, starring Paul Rudd as a slightly more irreverent and distinctly smaller superhero, came in a little below earlier stand-alone Marvel films like Thor (US$65.7 million in 2011) and Captain America: The First Avenger (US$65.1 million in 2011).

Dave Hollis, head of distribution at Disney, credited Marvel for successfully expanding its universe, both in tone and audience make-up. The movie, a more humorous heist film, appealed more to women (42 per cent of the audience) and families (28 per cent) than most Marvel releases.

"Most encouragingly in this one, the exit scores we're seeing from women - their likelihood to recommend and how much they enjoyed the film - were higher here than almost any film we've had," Hollis said. "It's a great sign for what word-of-mouth should be for the run. But, two, what it means for how women think about these movies being for them as much as men might."

The next question will be whether the result was strong enough to kick-start an Ant-Man 2. Though Ant-Man had a rocky path to the screen, with director Peyton Reed replacing Edgar Wright shortly before shooting commenced, its CinemaScore from audiences is an A. It took in US$56.4 million abroad.

The opening was closest to 2008's The Incredible Hulk (US$55 million), the poorly received Edward Norton edition that didn't spawn further installments. 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 US$80 or $100 million. Marvel continues to evolve and surprised the audience. This was about a perfectly solid result for a brand new property."

The US$30.2 million opening for Schumer's big-screen debut Trainwreck, which the comedian also wrote, earned an estimated US$30.2 million, making the R-rated Universal release one of the biggest comedy successes this summer. It's also the second best opening for Judd Apatow as a director, following Knocked Up.

Already a critically acclaimed star on Comedy Central for her sketch show Inside Amy Schumer, Schumer's transition to movies has drawn good reviews and opened above expectations, further showing the power of female moviegoers. 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," he said.

Opening in just five locations was Woody Allen's Irrational Man, starring Joaquin Phoenix and Emma Stone. The Sony Pictures Classic release packed those cinemas for an average of US$37,623 per screen.

The Roadside Attractions and Miramax release Mr Holmes, starring Ian McKellen as an aged Sherlock Holmes, debuted with US$2.5 million in 363 cinemas.

Following are estimated ticket sales for Friday through yesterday at US and Canadian cinemas, according to Rentrak. Where available, the latest international number are also included.

1. Ant-Man, US$58m (US$56.4m)

2. Minions, US$50.2m (US$66.2m)

3. Trainwreck, US$30.2m

4. Inside Out, US$11.7m (US$21. 3m)

5. Jurassic World, US$11.4m (US$12.3m)

6. Terminator Genisys, US$5.4m (US$22.2m)

7. Magic Mike XXL, US$4.5m (US$5.8m)

8. Gallows, US$4m (US$2.1m)

9. Ted 2, US$2.7m (US$7.5m)

10. Mr Holmes, US$2.5m

The estimated ticket sales at international cinemas (excluding the US and Canada), according to Rentrak:

1. Monster Hunt, US$72m

2. Minions, US$66.2m

3. Jian Bing Man, US$61m

4. Ant-Man, US$56.4m

5. Monkey King: Hero Is Back, US$22.5m

6. Terminator Genisys, US$22.2m

7. Inside Out, US$21.3m

8. Jurassic World, US$12.3m

9. Ted 2, US$7.5m

10. Magic Mike XXL, US$5.8m.