Ant-Man and the Wasp’s premiere weekend can’t break the MCU’s box office shrug

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is off to a bit of a slow start at the box office, at least by recent Marvel Cinematic Universe standards. During its four-day weekend, Quantumania brought in $144 million at the box office, but its staying power is what really matters for the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Though $144 million is the best debut among Marvel’s three Ant-Man films, it’s also among the lower end of recent MCU fare. Marvel’s first opening of 2022 was also its most impressive, with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness picking up $187 million in its first few days. Disney ended the superhero year with another strong premiere from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, which drew $181 million in its first weekend. Meanwhile, Thor: Love and Thunder came in at a comparatively disappointing $144 million, which matches Quantumania’s total — though the Ant-Man movie had the benefit of a holiday weekend to extend its opening and increase its ticket sales.

Though these movies’ openings are important, it’s the continued week-over-week success where Marvel hopes Ant-Man reverse the studio’s recent run of box office disappointments — even if, by MCU standards, they’re still hauling in plenty. Both Thor: Love and Thunder and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever failed to reach the financial heights of their characters’ preceding films, with Love and Thunder falling nearly $100 million off Thor: Ragnarok’s mark in 2017, and Wakanda Forever trailing 2018’s Black Panther by nearly $500 million.

While Quantumania avoided the extreme lows of other recent Marvel openings like Eternals, which managed only $71 million on its first weekend in 2021, it’s clear that Marvel is a little worried about its fans getting burnt out. A week before the Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania premiered, Disney CEO Bob Iger suggested during Disney’s quarterly investor call that Marvel would be releasing a bit less content in the near future and that “more aggressive curation” might be good for the MCU’s future.