• Box Office

World Box Office February 13 to 19, 2023

Defying negative reviews, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania lived up to its buzz as the first major tentpole movie of 2023.

With an 84 percent audience exit score on Rotten Tomatoes contrasting against the critics’ verdicts, Paul Rudd’s third outing as the diminutive superhero surpassed the opening earnings of his first two Ant-Man films.

The threequel, directed again by Peyton Reed, drew $118 million over the four-day Presidents’ Day weekend. These figures collected by the 31st film of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), also starring Evangeline Lilly as Hope van Dyne, are considered among the highest ever recorded on this particular holiday date and for February.

Box office analysts are also crediting Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’s big numbers to the introduction of Jonathan Majors as a new major MCU villain, Kang The Conqueror. News stories trumpeted that Majors’ Kang elicited high scores at test screenings.

Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige told Entertainment Weekly: “For years, we’ve always had the inkling that Kang would be an amazing follow-up to Thanos (Josh Brolin). He’s got that equal stature in the comics, but he’s a completely different villain. Mainly, that’s because he’s multiple villains. He’s so unique from Thanos, which we really liked.

“And in the early days of Quantumania [test audiences], Jonathan started to pop in a big way. He’s the highest-testing villain we’ve ever had in any of our friends and families [screenings]. That’s really saying something with a movie like this. Even early on without the effects, Jonathan is his own effect. He was working from the start.

“It’s always one of the fun rolls of the dice that we do at Marvel, which is to say: ‘Hey, we’re going to make multiple movies around this character, and we’re going to start before the audience has even had a chance to meet him’…People are chanting, ‘Kang!’ when Jonathan goes on talk shows, and they haven’t even seen him in the movie yet!”

Disney also took the second spot as Avatar: The Way of Water continues its spectacular run. On its 10th frame, James Cameron’s return to Pandora collected another $7.5 million.

Another holdover still faring very well was Puss in Boots: The Last Wish which climbed back to third place. Picking up $6.97 million for a domestic total of $167.7 million so far, the animated movie with a voice cast led by Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Harvey Guillen, Florence Pugh and Olivia Colman has surprisingly surpassed Sing 2.

What’s also remarkable is that the Joel Crawford and Januel Mercado-directed sequel is already being streamed.

Channing Tatum’s Magic Mike’s Last Dance fell from first to fourth place as it garnered $6.3 million and earned $18.9 million after two weeks.

M. Night Shyamalan’s Knock at the Cabin hung on to the top five with a $4.49 million haul.

Making up the rest of the top ten were, in order: Jane Fonda and Sally Field’s 80 for Brady, $4.25 million; Titanic (the 25th anniversary re-release), $2.7 million; Neil Jordan’s Marlowe, starring Liam Neeson as Raymond Chandler’s noir private detective, Diane Kruger and Jessica Lange, bowed with $2.26 million; Missing, $2.025 million; and A Man Called Otto, $1.9 million.

Overseas, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania also crawled quickly to the top and grossed $121.3 million for a worldwide take of $225.3 million.

In China, Ant-Man 3, co-starring Michael Douglas, Michelle Pfeiffer, Randall Park and Kathryn Newton, took $19.2 million which is on the low rung of the forecast by box office experts. Still, the world’s biggest market topped Quantumania’s list of high-performing territories, which included the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Korea, Mexico, Australia, Indonesia, Brazil and India.

With its combined domestic and offshore grosses of $2,243.2 million, Avatar 2 has officially eclipsed Titanic as the number three biggest movie hit ever.