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The North American box office was a mixed bag this weekend.
While Amy Schumer‘s female-fueled R-rated comedy Trainwreck overperformed, Disney and Marvel’s Ant-Man came in somewhat behind expectations with $58 million. While that’s certainly not a shabby number, it marks the second-lowest debut for Marvel Studios since it went solo and launched its cinematic universe, beginning with Iron Man ($98.6 million) in May 2008. Only The Incredible Hulk opened lower ($55.4 million).
The opposite was true overseas, where Ant-Man earned $56.4 million from its first 37 markets, well ahead of the first Captain America and Thor. That puts Ant-Man’s global bow at $114.4 million. Internationally, it placed behind the debut of Monster Hunt in China, which earned a mammoth $72 million, Minions ($66.2 million) and Chinese film Jian Bing Man ($61 million). There’s a blackout in China currently, meaning no Hollywood titles on the marquee.
Ant-Man, starring Paul Rudd as the world’s tiniest superhero, easily claimed the top spot in North America, ahead of holdover Minions, which took in $50.2 million in its second weekend for a domestic total of $216.7 million. Ant-Man, earning a promising A CinemaScore, is by the far the most comedic and family-friendly superhero film to hit the big screen, vying with Illumination Entertainment and Universal’s Minions for family love (indeed, Minions fell a hefty 57 percent).
Heading into the weekend, Ant-Man was expected to debut to $60 million-$65 million. By way of comparison, the first Thor and Captain America installments both opened to roughly $65 million as Marvel went about launching new franchises featuring lesser-known superheroes. And last summer, Guardians of the Galaxy stunned in launching to $94.3 million domestically.
“This is a great start, albeit not as big as some people said it would be, and Marvel has once again successfully expanded its stable of characters in a way that makes its universe fresh,” said Disney distribution chief Dave Hollis, noting that Ant-Man drew the largest share of families (28 percent) and women (32 percent) of any Marvel superhero title.
Directed by Peyton Reed, Ant-Man stars Rudd as con man Scott Lang who, armed with a super-suit with the ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, attempts to pull off a heist that will save the world. The superhero film, costing $130 million to produce and taking years to get right, also stars Michael Douglas and Corey Stoll.
Ant-Man saw plenty of behind-the-scenes drama throughout its making, and took a decade to arrive on the big screen. Director Edgar Wright worked on the film for years with writer Joe Cornish, but he abruptly left the project in May 2014 over creative differences. Reed was brought in as Wright’s replacement, while Adam McKay, who directed Rudd in Anchorman, was brought aboard to work on the script with Rudd.
Thunderstorms and rain in Southern California didn’t seem to dampen moviegoing overall — some theaters even saw a boost in traffic — although Ant-Man didn’t appear to benefit.
Conversely, Trainwreck was up on Saturday for a $30.2 million weekend, almost matching Knocked Up ($30.9 million) to mark the best debut of Judd Apatow‘s directing career. Thanks to females (66 percent), Trainwreck exceeded expectations and is a big win for popular comedienne Schumer as she makes her feature film debut. Heading into the weekend, the Universal movie was expected to open to $20 million.
The Emmy-nominated Schumer stars in and penned Trainwreck, which played best in New York and Los Angeles, where Schumer is a media darling. The comedy, earning an A- CinemaScore and costing a modest $35 million to make, is the fifth film directed by Apatow and the first he didn’t also write. Nearly 40 percent of the audience was under the age of 30.
The story centers on Schumer’s character, a commitment-phobic career woman who doesn’t believe in monogamy, who may have to face her fears when she meets a good guy. Bill Hader and LeBron James also star.
“Amy is an absolute budding film star. She’s already a star in the stand-up comedy world. And Judd has a way of finding talent and imbuing characters with a real sense of sweetness. What you discover as the film plays on is a sweetness in her character. It’s really a romance comedy wrapped up in an R-rated comedy,” said Universal domestic distribution chief Nick Carpou.
Pixar and Disney’s Inside Out placed No. 4 in its fifth weekend, grossing $11.7 million to jump the $300 million mark domestically with a total of $306.4 million through Sunday and a global cume of $490.1 million.
Jurassic World rounded out the top five in its sixth outing with $11.4 million for a domestic total of $611.1 million for Universal. Internationally, the blockbuster jumped the $900 million mark to finish Sunday with an estimated $1.513 billion, overtaking fellow Universal title Furious 7 to become the No. 4 title of all time.
Indeed, Universal had a good weekend, with three titles in the top five domestically, the first time that’s happened since 2003. And Minions finished Sunday with an estimated global cume of $625.8 million.
At the specialty box office, Woody Allen‘s Irrational Man launched to $188,115 from five theaters for Sony Pictures Classics, the lowest debut for the director in five years. The mystery drama stars Joaquin Phoenix, Parker Posey, Jamie Blackley and Emma Stone.
However, Irrational Man‘s screen average of $37,623 was higher than Allen’s last film, To Rome With Love, which debuted to $361,359 in 17 theaters for a screen average of $24,241. And Irrational Man‘s screen average is among the highest so far this year.
Bill Condon‘s Mr. Holmes, starring Ian McKellen as Sherlock Holmes, opted for a larger footprint. The movie opened to an estimated $2.5 million from 363 locations, good enough for an 11th-place finish. Roadside Attractions and Miramax are releasing the film in the U.S. Laura Linney also stars in Mr. Holmes, which earned an A- CinemaScore and is a hit among older adults, evidenced by a Friday to Saturday jump of 59 percent.
Elsewhere, two dramas from India made noise at the U.S. box office, with Bajrangi Bhaijaan and holdover Baahubali: The Beginning placing relatively high on the chart. In its second weekend, the latter grossed $1.3 million from 210 theaters for a domestic total of $6.3 million. Opening in 256 locations, Bajrangi placed No. 10 with $2.6 million.
MAGIC MIKE XXL
July 19, 8:20 a.m. An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Ant-Man is Marvel Studios’ lowest domestic opening. THR regrets the error.
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