Ant-Man stands tall

Ant-Man’s success at the weekend box office in the United States marks Marvel’s 12th consecutive first-place opening.
Ant-Man’s success at the weekend box office in the United States marks Marvel’s 12th consecutive first-place opening. PHOTO: WALT DISNEY PICTURES

NEW YORK • Marvel’s quirky Ant- Man over the weekend provided a told-you-so moment for supporters (Marvel can do no wrong) and naysayers (the movie is about ants), while Amy Schumer and Trainwreck again demonstrated the power of female ticket buyers at the weekend box office.

Ant-Man, starring Paul Rudd as a tiny superhero who can control ant behaviour, was easily the No. 1 movie in the United States and Canada, taking in about US$58 million (S$79 million) – Marvel’s 12th consecutive first-place opening.

Overseas, the 3-D movie, which received strong reviews, took in an additional US$56.4 million.

But Ant-Man, which cost Disney owned Marvel an estimated US$130 million to make, also delivered the lowest opening total in North America for any movie directly produced by Mr Kevin Feige, Marvel’s president.

Going into the weekend, some analysts had expected the film to top US$60 million, but its opening is similar to that of Marvel’s TheIncredible Hulk, which earned an initial US$55 million in 2008 on its way to a US$134 million US haul.

Universal’s Trainwreck bested initial projections of a US$20 million debut by reaping US$30.2 million in tickets takings. The story of a commitment-phobic woman who falls for a sports doctor got a boost from strong reviews and a long and winding promotional tour that saw Schumer, 34, doing everything from posing provocatively with C3PO to sexting TV news presenter Katie Couric’s husband.

“Amy Schumer is absolutely a star,” said Mr Nick Carpou, Universal’s domestic distribution chief. “Based on exit polling, after the humour, she’s the second biggest reason people went out to see the film.”

The film, at No. 3, kicks off Schumer’s film career on a high note and marks the second-biggest opening for director Judd Apatow, behind only the US$30.7 million debut of 2007’s Knocked Up. It cost about US$35 million to make. Universal said about 66 per cent of Trainwreck ticket buyers were female.

Minions (Universal) was second, collecting US$50.2 million for a two week domestic total of US$216.7 million, according to Rentrak, which compiles box-office data.

Hollywood has recently begun aiming more films at women or girls, finding success with movies such as last year’s Maleficent and this year’s Fifty Shades Of Grey, The Divergent Series: Insurgent, Pitch Perfect 2 and, now, Trainwreck.

NEW YORK TIMES, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 21, 2015, with the headline 'Ant-Man stands tall'. Print Edition | Subscribe