Generally thought of as palette cleansers after huge team-up movies (“Avengers: Age of Ultron” and “Avengers: Infinity War,” respectively), the previous two “Ant-Man” movies took in relatively modest (for Marvel) worldwide grosses of $519.3 million and $622.6 million. The fact that Ant-Man is less of a draw than his fellow Avengers is even a running gag in-universe; in “Avengers: Endgame” he offered to let some kids take a selfie with him, only to have the offer politely declined, and “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” sees Scott treated with gushing adoration … after being mistaken for Spider-Man.
Broadly speaking, Marvel Studios movies went from strength to strength at the box office until they (along with most other releases) dipped abruptly amid the COVID-19 pandemic. But the MCU came back swinging with “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” which brought back Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield’s iterations of the web-slinger (plus some of their old enemies), and scored a massive $260 million opening weekend.
Comparing “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” to other Marvel movies released over the past year, it looks like Scott Lang is still the little guy. “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” opened with $187 million, “Thor: Love and Thunder” with $144 million, and “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” with $181 million. Next up is “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” arriving on May 5, so we’ll find out then how the final adventure of the galaxy’s most lovable misfits measures up against the big screen introduction of the multiverse’s most ambitious egomaniac.