6:40am PT by Pamela McClintock
Box-Office Preview: 'Ant-Man and the Wasp' to Buzz Past 'First Purge' With $75M-$85M
Dystopian horror pic The First Purge hopes to set off fireworks when it hits theaters on July 4 in advance of Friday's debut of the summer's latest superhero tentpole, Ant-Man and the Wasp.
Independence Day is a mixed bag when it comes to moviegoing, since many consumers are tied up with other activities.
Marking the fourth installment in Universal and Blumhouse's successful horror franchise, The First Purge is targeting a $25-$30 million Wednesday-Sunday launch, including previews on Tuesday night. Platinum Dunes is also a producer on the series.
First Purge won't have much time to itself before Disney and Marvel's Ant-Man and the Wasp opens everywhere Friday, following Thursday-evening previews. If tracking is correct, the follow-up should buzz to $75 million-$85 million its domestic debut, ahead of the $57.2 million launch of Ant-Man in summer 2015.
To date, The Purge franchise has grossed more than $320 million against a relatively tiny production cost.
The First Purge is a prequel explaining the origins of the annual "Purge," a 12-hour period during which it's legal to commit any crime, including murder. Tracking shows the movie appealing to younger, diverse moviegoers.
Gerard McMurray directed The First Purge from a script by James DeMonaco, who wrote and helmed the first three films. Y'Lan Noel, Lex Scott Davis, Jovian Wade, Luna Lauren Velez and Marisa Tomei star in the prequel, which also launches this week in its first 27 international markets.
In July 2016, The Purge: Election Year debuted to $31.5 million domestically.
Ant-Man and the Wasp is the 20th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and flies into theaters following the staggering success of Avengers: Infinity War earlier this summer and Black Panther in February. Currently, the Ant-Man sequel boasts an 84 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Peyton Reed (The Break Up) returns to direct, reuniting Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly. Rudd reprises his role as Scott Lang/Ant-Man, while Lilly plays Hope van Dyne/Wasp (her transformation into a superhero was hinted at in the first film). The movie adds another female superhero to the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Captain Marvel, starring Brie Larson, prepares for its box-office debut in March 2019. Hannah John-Kamen plays the villain Ghost in Ant-Man and the Wasp.
The follow-up, set between the events in Captain America: Civil War and Infinity War, sees Ant-Man and the Wasp embarking on a new mission from van Dyne's father and SHIELD inventor Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) to find his wife and Hope's mother (Michelle Pfeiffer).
Ant-Man and the Wasp opens in roughly 45 percent of the foreign marketplace timed to its U.S. launch.
July 3, 9:45 a.m. Updated with revised projections for Ant-Man and the Wasp.