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‘Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’ box office declines

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Marvel Studios’ “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.”

Disney

Not every Marvel movie can be “Avengers: Endgame.”

That’s the sentiment from box office analysts after the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s latest film “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” saw the sharpest decline in ticket sales from opening weekend to second weekend in franchise history.

After securing $106.1 million during its first Friday, Saturday, Sunday in domestic theaters, the Disney film tallied just $31.9 million over the weekend, a 69.8% decline.

“This is a decline somewhat sharper than expected, but we also shouldn’t make a mountain from a mole hill,” said Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at BoxOffice.com. “Marvel films have been trending more and more frontloaded for years now, and that’s perhaps compounded slightly by the reality that theaters are now charging more for opening weekend tickets than subsequent days and weeks.”

To be sure, “Quantumania” is one of the worst reviewed Marvel films, with a 48% “rotten” critics’ score on Rotten Tomatoes. However, fans appeared to have enjoyed the film, generating an 83% audience rating.

Still, blockbuster features often see a significant decline from the first weekend to the second, as pent up demand drives moviegoers to see films as soon as they open. Marvel’s other 30 films range from a 44% drop for 2018’s “Black Panther” to a 67.8% drop for the pandemic released “Black Widow.”

“Thor: Love and Thunder,” “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” and “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” a co-production with Sony, all saw second week drops in excess of 67%.

“Love and Thunder” went on to collect $760 million globally, “Multiverse of Madness” snared $952 million during its worldwide run and “No Way Home” nearly reached $2 billion in ticket sales.

“In the grand scheme of things, Marvel is still on some of the surest footing of any franchise in history,” Robbins said.

The film also has more counter-programming than other Marvel films released in the last few years. During the pandemic, films could run for weeks without any direct competition or other theatrical releases. Now, studios are offering up a steadier stream of content and audiences have more choices.

Over the weekend, Universal’s “Cocaine Bear” sniffed up $23 million. The R-rated horror-comedy saw 63% of its ticket sales from the 18- to 34-year-old demographic, the same group that often comes out for big budget superhero flicks.

“Universal may not have had success with Dark Universe, but their Snark Universe is alive and well,” said Jeff Bock, senior analyst at Exhibitor Relations.

He pointed to “Violent Night” and “M3gan,” in addition to “Cocaine Bear,” as films that have outperformed expectations at the box office. This showcases that audiences are interested in a diversity of genres and are coming out to cinemas to see them.

“‘Cocaine Bear’ jumped into the public consciousness seemingly overnight and rode a wave of interest, and incredulity, to overperform this weekend with its grindhouse sensibilities,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore. “[It attracted] an enthusiastic audience hungry for something out of the ordinary.”

Additionally, Lionsgate’s “Jesus Revolution” catered to faith-based audiences and drummed up $15.5 million over the weekend.

“Clearly there is a demand for movies of all types and this weekend showed how a diverse selection of films can drive traffic to the movie theater,” Dergarabedian said.

Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC. NBCUniversal is the distributor of “Cocaine Bear,” “Violent Night” and “M3gan.” NBCUniversal also owns Rotten Tomatoes.

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