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One of the more interesting lineups at the summer box office unfolds this weekend as Ant-Man and Amy Schumer‘s Trainwreck debut in North America.
Ant-Man, starring Paul Rudd, is a crucial test for Marvel Studios, considering it is perhaps the most comedic and family-oriented superhero film ever made. Tracking suggests it will open in the $60 million to $65 million range domestically — a decent start, as it vies with Universal holdover Minions for family love (though it will have a lock on fanboys and fangirls).
Overcoming years of drama and defying naysayers, Ant-Man cost $130 million to produce. It’s also beginning its international launch this weekend. Many believe the summer superhero tentpole will come in on the high end of expectations, considering Marvel’s track record. Last summer, Marvel’s offbeat Guardians of the Galaxy surprised by debuting to $94.3 million domestically.
Ant-Man tells the story of how petty thief Scott Lang (Rudd) helps his former hero, Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), by agreeing to wear the Ant-Man suit and shrink to the size of an ant in order to pull off a heist that will save mankind.
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. Peyton 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.
Universal’s Trainwreck is also a crucial test, albeit for entirely different reasons. Schumer — hoping to expand her outrageous brand of comedy to include movies — both stars in and penned the R-rated comedy, the fifth film directed by Apatow (it’s the first he didn’t also write).
Because Schumer is an unproven quantity on the big screen, Trainwreck may only open in the mid to high teens (more bullish box-office observers believe it will cross $20 million), not a bad beginning for a film that cost $35 million to make. The critically acclaimed film also could overperform if it takes off among females.
At the same time, R-rated comedies have struggled this summer, with both Ted 2 and Magic Mike XXL underperforming.
In Trainwreck, Schumer stars as a sports journalist, likewise named Amy, whose belief that monogamy is impossible is tested when she interviews a sports doctor (Bill Hader). The cast includes Brie Larson, John Cena, Vanessa Bayer, Mike Birbiglia, Ezra Miller, Dave Attell, Colin Quinn, Tilda Swinton and LeBron James. Apatow produced with Barry Mendel.
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