It certainly wasn’t bad word of mouth, that led to Ant-Man having the lowest domestic box office opening ($58m) since The Incredible Hulk, before the Marvel Mania kicked in. While it didn’t receive obnoxious raves, Ant-Man received good solid reviews indicating that it was a good movie despite the odds. Every person I saw on twitter who saw it seemed really enjoy it. So why did it barely make waves? I have some ideas.
Let’s not pretend that I’m not a huge Marvel fan. I am. I’ve been a Marvel girl since I was little and they gave away free Spider-Man comics in the news paper. I would wait for every weekend to get those issues and I would read them like my life depended upon it. That said, that was the extent to my comic days as a kid. I was interested, but not interested enough to spend my well earned money on cmics. I didn’t spend my money on anything but music. It was enough to seed a deep love for comics and Marvel in particular. Now that I’m what some people would consider an adult, though my actions would likely point to a giant teenager with disposable income, I still have a love for all things Marvel. So when the movies started to emerge when I was an actual teenager I latched on. I latched on hard and I haven’t let go. I just thought I should explain why I may be a little bit more attached than some people.
Ant-Man was a very different step for Marvel. Some might think that Guardians of the Galaxy was the big risk (I always thought it would be a success based on my obsessive reviews of all the trailers.- 1,2,3, & 4, prelude, and the about the buzz). It wasn’t though. It came on the heels of another Disney property announcement Star Wars. That excitement for something epic and in space with many different characters and creatures was heightened by that excitement. Most people don’t know when movies are coming. Average people just don’t pay attention. WHy should they. Everyone knows that there is a new Star Wars. It was big news and that created buzz. It created an environment in which Marvel was able to ride the wave of excitement. Behind both the extremely well done The Winter Soldier and riding the Star Wars hype, Guardians of the Galaxy was always going to succeed. Ant-Man never had that convergence of good luck.
For one, there was no hype over the general type of movie that Ant-Man is. It is a comedy heist. People really haven’t been thirsting for either of those things in recent months. Comedies have been doing dismally, but alright. Honestly, I can’t remember the last heist movie that’s been out recently. So while it was an undersaturated market for the heist, who was saying that people even wanted that. Then when you add in the fact that Ant-Man came on the tails of the liked, but certainly not loved Avengers: Age of Ultron. People were sour. For many it didn’t live up to their lofty expectations. In fact, it only just lived up to what it set out for itself. This isn’t to say that people had stopped trusting the force that was Marvel Studios, but they certainly weren’t riding the high.
That meant that from the very start Ant-Man was walking an uphill battle. Saddle on the extra baggage that it carried with major fans who knew about the Edgar Wright debacle and it was laced with this sense of impending dread. It was the first Marvel movie that people were voicing doubts about. It didn’t help that the promotional materials for the movie were more gimmicky that giving you a real sense of the film. Part of this is surely Marvel’s fault who didn’t know how to handle this film on the heels of a string of films that had epic stakes. Ant-Man is smaller than that, even if it did try to claim it would be a much bigger deal, and that was it’s advaantage that was never recognized. This was more a movie of a common person who is deeply flawed but still filled with love. In fact, out of all the Marvel movies, Ant-Man contained the most flawed characters and it was refreshing. These weren’t all upstanding people you’d want to be friends with. For that simple matter they felt like a change of pace from what Marvel had been dealing out with the rest of their characters.
The main result that we saw from Ant-Man was that it was a movie that had almost everything stacked against it other than the Marvel banner to prop up it’s name. The real question is whether this will make Marvel rethink going forward with other characters that may not be as big of draws as others? Will they continue to tke risks by introducing characters that may not live as squarely in the public conscious as some of their tentpoles?
I hope that it doesn’t. To be honest, I don’t think it will unless they begin to see a major downturn in box office on their big releases. That said, I don’t believe that they will invest quite as much money as they did on Ant-Man on some of their more riskier titles. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it will be an interesting that we go on with the other titles.
What do you think contributed to Ant-Man’s lowest box office opening in a long time?