The film saw the third-lowest box office opening for any Marvel Studios film and did not have the strong financial legs to beat Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again, which is in it’s third weekend. The reason that Marvel Studios opted to have a staggered release for the 20th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe was to avoid competition with the FIFA World Cup and The Incredibles 2, which had a massive impact on several international markets. The hope was that this would give the film a chance at unopposed dominance in the United Kingdom’s box office but so far the early numbers that have come in have shown that this planned delay was indeed a poor business decision.
The Peyton Reed-directed Marvel solo hero outing Ant-Man & The Wasp is set after the events of 2016’s Captain America: Civil War and was marketed as a light-hearted departure from the heavy nature of Avengers: Infinity War. The film already was at an arbitrary advantage after being on the tail end of the Marvel Studios’ 2018 slate of films, which have all performed strong at the box office and because Ant-Man was one of the less popular MCU films despite it earning $519 million worldwide in 2015. During it’s July 6th domestic opening, Ant-Man and The Wasp earned $75 million but it’s UK release earned far less than that. On it’s opening weekend, it earned £3.8 million which translates to $4.92 million in the United States and with previews it only managed £5 million ($6.5 million), but without them it got beaten to the #1 spot by Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again, which raked in £4.1 million ($5.3 million) in its third weekend at the box office.
Obviously, the United Kingdom is not the biggest market like China is but it is still the fourth largest market in the world to debut a film so it is still of importance. In 2015, Ant-Man grossed more than $25 million in the United Kingdom, which accounted for 5% of it’s worldwide total. On it’s opening weekend, it was able to gross $6.2 million which means Ant-Man and the Wasp‘s domestic opening weekend was far more successful than it’s predecessor, but it’s overall performance in the region is a huge financial step backwards. In comparison with other Marvel Cinematic Universe films, it has only been able to outperform The Incredible Hulk and Captain America: The First Avenger. This is news that Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige will not be excited about after having exponentially large box office pulls with Black Panther and Infinity War.
The biggest contributor to Ant-Man & The Wasp’s poor box office performance was the FIFA World Cup, which Disney did try to avoid. However, they were unsuccessful as the United Kingdom did have a match with Sweden, which prevented the film from having a stronger initial performance as planned. The reason being is that soccer has been known to be a far bigger spectacle in the United Kingdom than a blockbuster outing from the House of Mouse. According to Deadline, weekend box office performances can be as high as 50-60% which is representative of the majority of consumer dollars, which Disney would of course want.
The film was also plagued by competition from Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, which was released early in the United Kingdom on June 11th and led to Universal having dominance over the entire month so there’s no way Disney could have delayed it again because this would have had a negative impact on another Disney film, The Incredibles 2. The Incredibles 2 had already had it’s UK release date delayed by a month, which gave it a chance to occupy the weekend of July 15th.
Based on these numbers, it is apparent that Disney has suffered a major loss in an important film market which is not at all what executives were hoping for but hopefully later films will pick up whatever lost profits exist. How Ant-Man and The Wasp will perform in China where it is set to release later this month remains to be seen.
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