Ignoring the slightly negative sounding headline, Ant-Man can still be classed as a win for Marvel despite its lower than expected opening. The launch of a new arm of the MCU is never directly comparable to the movie that came before it. Ant-Man was never going to do Avengers or Iron Man 3 numbers, but I’ll bet Marvel had expected a little more than the estimated $58 million.
To put these numbers into Marvel perspective, Iron Man soared to $98 million in 2008 and The Incredible Hulk smashed his way to a disappointing $55 million. In 2011 Thor summoned $65 million and more or less the same for Captain America later that same year. With the exception of Iron Man, the opening weekend for Ant-Man more or less falls in line with the other franchise starters.
The departure of Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish introduced Marvel to something they had largely avoided so far, major fan backlash. Having poured almost a decade of his life into developing the script, Marvel parted ways with Wright over ‘creative differences’ and the internet was not happy about it. Ultimately, Marvel fans are loyal, and as Ant-Man closes Phase 2 of their cinematic universe, there is the added incentive to see how it sets up what’s to come.
Paul Rudd is perfectly cast as Scott Lang, and Ant-Man is a fun addition to the Marvel lineup, in fact, it is just as much of a hoot as the first Iron Man. While I certainly enjoyed the movie, I struggled to get passed the movie that could have been as every once in a while there was something that echoed Wright and Cornish. I accept that a movie should be judged on what you see on screen, and in that respect Ant-Man is another big win for Marvel without question even if the behind the scenes problems leaves a bitter aftertaste.
Marvel proved with Guardians of the Galaxy that it was the brand that counted, they took a lesser known comic book property and turned it into a massive hit. However, the slightly soft debut for Ant-Man might show Marvel that it’s not that brand that counts, it’s the fans. We will see Paul Rudd back in the suit next year for Captain America: Civil War.