There are lots of reasons to like the ANT-MAN series. Aside from the cast toplined by the endlessly charming Paul Rudd and the inspired pairing of Michelle Pfeiffer and Michael Douglas, there has always been an intimacy to the ANT-MAN films that has been missing throughout the rest of the MCU. It is small in all the best ways.
That smallness translates to its economics as well. The two ANT-MAN films grossed far less than the other MCU films, but, at the same time, they cost quite a bit less. Smaller budget, smaller expectations, smaller grosses.
Now we are less than two months away from the third film in the series, ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA and the tracking numbers are, well, small.
Looking at the historicals, of the 30 MCU titles, the two ANT-MAN films sit near the bottom in terms of opening weekend. The first entry debuted to $57, while the second film in the series – ANT-MAN AND THE WASP – opened to $76M. That’s a $19M improvement from one to two. Could the third film be the first in the series to open above $100M? At the moment, it seems like a long shot.
The soft tracking reflects a campaign that has been slightly askew. First, there has been very little in the way of big marketing events. Disney released only one trailer for the film back in late October. Second, Paul Rudd has been noticeably absent from the print campaign.
Take a look at the two posters for the film. Rudd is nowhere to be found. Instead, Jonathan Majors, who plays the villain “Kang The Conqueror,” is the only distinguishable face on the one-sheets. It’s not entirely unusual for faces to be obscured or absent from teaser posters, but with just a few weeks to go before release, it’s odd that a more traditional poster featuring the mugs of the top-notch cast has yet to be released.
Sadly, the Rudd-less campaign aligns with the soft tracking numbers. Currently, QUANTUMANIA (yellow) has an awareness of 36%. As you can see below, that’s well below the 51% for THOR LOVE AND THUNDER (brown) and 46% for BLACK ADAM (light yellow) at the same distance from release.
THOR opened to $144M, while ADAM debuted to $67M. Yes, we are mixing Marvel and DC properties. But it is surprising that QUANTUMANIA – the third film in the series – has lower awareness than ADAM given that ADAM was a new character for many filmgoers. An opening below $67M would be a noticeable step backward for the series.
It’s a similar story when we look at interest. With less than two months to go, QUANTUMANIA (black) has an interest score of 5.8. Again, that’s below both THOR (navy) and ADAM (light blue).
Despite the light tracking, a few things are working in the film’s favor. First, it opens on February 17th, the long President’s weekend. Second, it is the only new wide release that weekend, so it will have little in the way of competition. Third, no other Disney movies are opening between now and then. With AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER up and running, QUANTUMANIA should get the full attention of the mouse house marketing team from this point forward. Here’s hoping these numbers start to rise because this has always been a series worth rooting for.