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Box Office Breakdown: Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania Opens Big Over the Holiday Despite Bad Reviews

Presidents Day weekend offered the fourth weekend since December where schools were closed and government employees were off on Monday for a four-day holiday weekend. Since this is being written on Sunday, we have to go by the studio estimates we’ve received for Sunday and Monday, which might change by the time actuals are released on Tuesday.

This Past Weekend

A lot of stakes were put into this week’s widest new release, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, being that it was the first Marvel Studios movie of the year, as well as the launch of the MCU’s planned Phase 5. Even before the weekend, Marvel President Kevin Feige had suggested that Marvel might spread out its release going forward, and The Marvels, the sequel to 2019’s hit Captain Marvel was moved from its original July date back to early November.

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania brought back the popular characters played by Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly introduced in 2015’s Ant-Man, which had not been Marvel’s biggest moneymaker compared to other MCU movies. The third Ant-Man movie did kick off the next big overarching story in the form of Jonathan Majors‘ Kang the Conqueror, as well as introducing Kathryn Newton as Cassie Lang, the next generation of Ant-person.

Even before its release, Quantumania had to face some of the worst reviews since Chloé Zhao‘s Eternals in 2021, ending up at 48% on Rotten Tomatoes, and the movie movie kicked off its theatrical run with $17.5 million in Thursday previews and $46 million on Friday in 4,345 theaters. Its resulting CinemaScore wasn’t much better than the reviews, with a relatively poor “B” rating, equal to that of Eternals.

Disney estimated that Quantumania took in $104 million over the three-day weekend and $118 million including Monday, instantly making it the top grossing movie of 2023, as well as the third-best opening for a February and Presidents Day release.

Marvel’s latest grossed $121.3 million overseas this weekend for a global total of $225.3 million with key territories being China with a mere $19.2 million, the UK with $10.9 million, followed by Mexico ($8.7 million), S. Korea ($7.2 million), and Australia ($5.3 million). $24 million of that global opening came from IMAX screens with North America doing slightly better with $12.2 million from IMAX to international’s $11.8 million.

James Cameron‘s Avatar: The Way of Water remained #2 for a second weekend with an estimated $6.1 million over the three-day weekend and $7.5 million including Presidents Day. It has grossed $658.4 domestically through Monday, as it inches ever closer to the box office record set by Cameron’s Oscar-winning Titanic back in 1997 and 1998. It added another $10.7 million overseas this weekend to bring its global total to $2.24 billion, and it’s officially passed Titanic‘s global total to become the third-highest worldwide grosser ever.

Continuing the strangest rollout for any release in its 100-year history, Warner Bros. decided to double the theater count for Channing Tatum‘s Magic Mike’s Last Dance in its second weekend, and with so many returning movies losing theater, it had the room for such an expansion into 3,034 theaters. Even with that robust expansion, Last Dance dropped to third place with an estimated $5.5 million over the three-day weekend, down 33% from its opening weekend. It has grossed $18.1 million through Sunday, but it certainly seems like its best days are behind it.

Universal continues to do well with DreamWorks Animation‘s Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, which moved into fourth place with $5.3 million over the three-day weekend (down 9%) and $7 million including Monday. It has grossed $167.8 million domestically and another $255.6 million overseas, for a global total of $421.6 million.

M. Night Shyamalan‘s thriller, Knock at the Cabin, starring Dave Bautista, dropped to fifth place with $3.9 million (-28%) and an estimated $4.6 million over the four-day holiday weekend, bringing its domestic total to $28.5 million.

Paramount‘s 80 for Brady is falling away faster with a 28% drop to sixth place with an estimated $3.6 million over the three-day weekend, though it could end up moving ahead of Cabin over the four-day weekend.

Cameron’s aforementioned Titanic, given a 25th anniversary rerelease last weekend, took a massive tumble in its second weekend to seventh place with $2.3 million, a massive 66% drop from its opening weekend, although it likely lost all of its premium screens to Ant-Man this weekend. Added to Titanic‘s previous box office, which includes a number of re-releases, Cameron’s romantic epic has racked up $671.8 million domestically through Sunday.

Liam Neeson in Marlowe/Briarcliff Entertainment

Liam Neeson starred in Neil Jordan‘s Marlowe, playing noir detective Philip Marlowe, with an impressive ensemble that included Diane Kruger, Jessica Lange, Daniela Melchior, Alan Cumming, and more. Critics weren’t kind to it, receiving a measly 24% on Rotten Tomatoes (and not much better from audiences). Briarcliff Entertainment released its latest release starring Neeson into 2,281 theaters on Wednesday, but after a measly $2.3 million over the four-day weekend, it barely had grossed $3 million total by Monday.

This week’s oddest release had to be Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey, a horror take on A.A. Milne‘s beloved children’s book character. Released via Fathom Events on Wednesday into 1,650 theaters, by the weekend, it was only in 445 theaters, so it quickly dropped out of the top ten with $679,000 and $1.5 million through Sunday.

It only fared slightly better than Goran Stolevski‘s Australian drama, Of an Age, which was released by Focus Features into 289 theaters where it made $406,000 over the 3-day weekend ($1,579 per theater) and $455,000 through Monday.

Bleecker Street released Frances O’Connor‘s Emily Brontë biopic, Emily, starring Emma Mackey, into five theaters in New York and L.A., making $40,000 or about $8,000 per theater. Bleecker Street plans on expanding the movie relatively wide next Friday.

Weekend Box Office

Rank Entry Distributor Revenue Theater Count Total Revenue
1 Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania Walt Disney $106,109,650 4,345 $106,109,650
2 Avatar: The Way of Water 20th Century Studios $6,550,464 2,675 $657,508,455
3 Magic Mike’s Last Dance Warner Bros. $5,432,686 3,034 $18,023,140
4 Puss in Boots: The Last Wish Universal $5,337,485 3,012 $166,153,585
5 Knock at the Cabin Universal $3,973,085 2,601 $30,445,355
6 80 for Brady Paramount Pictures $3,752,827 3,119 $32,400,638
7 Titanic Paramount Pictures $2,410,102 2,132 $671,896,237
8 Marlowe Open Road $1,811,549 2,281 $2,570,889
9 Missing Sony Pictures $1,747,754 1,516 $29,690,399
10 A Man Called Otto Sony Pictures $1,600,452 1,725 $60,622,656

Data provided by The Numbers, powered by OpusData

Last Year

Uncharted
Mark Wahlberg (L) and Tom Holland in Uncharted / Sony Pictures

Last Presidents Day saw the debut of the long-awaited video game adaptation of Uncharted, starring Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg, released by Sony Pictures into 4,275 theaters, where it brought in $44 million sin first three days and $51.3 million including Monday.

Channing Tatum hit theaters with the drama Dog, which he co-directed with his producing partner and Magic Mike screenwriter Reid Carolin. United Artists/MGM opened the movie into 3,677 theaters, where it grossed $14.9 million over the weekend and $17.4 million including the Monday holiday.

Spider-Man: No Way Home moved back into third place with $9.3 million over the four-day weekend, its domestic take at $772.2 million by weekend’s end.

A year after its Sundance debut, Sean Ellis‘ horror film The Cursed was released by indie distributor LD Entertainment into 1,687 theaters, where it grossed just $2 million over the four-day weekend

Upcoming 

Although Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania should be able to maintain its position in first place this weekend, expect a fairly massive drop of 65%+ from last weekend, which might put it under $40 million for its second weekend.

Cocaine Bear
Keri Russell (L) in Cocaine Bear / Universal

There are two wide releases of note this weekend, as Universal releases the horror-comedy Cocaine Bear, directed by Elizabeth Banks, into 3,500 theaters, while Lionsgate releases the faith-based drama, Jesus Revolution, into around 2,200 theaters.

Cocaine Bear features a pretty impressive ensemble cast that includes Keri Russell, Alden Ehrenreich, Isaiah Whitlock Jr., O’Shea Jackson Jr, Brooklynn Prince, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Margo Martindale, and even the late Ray Liotta, all of whom will be overshadowed by a CG-created bear on drugs. There’s something about this comedy that reminds me of the 2006 Samuel L. Jackson thriller, Snakes on a Plane, which opened with $15.2 million and made $34 million domestic after pervasive internet buzz.

Reviews for Cocaine Bear will not be released until Thursday afternoon, which is usually a warning sign that the studio is not expecting positive reviews, but the movie has been well-marketed with entertaining trailers, which should help the movie take second place with $12 to 14 million this weekend.

Jesus Revolution continues Lionsgate’s relationship with the Erwin Brothers, who directed the hit I Can Only Imagine ($17.1m opening, $83.5m domestic) and 2020’s I Still Believe, which had the misfortune of being released the weekend before movie theaters shut down.

This one is co-directed by Jon Erwin with Brent McCorkle (2012’s Unconditional), but unlike 2021’s The Jesus Music, this is not a documentary. Instead, it’s a period narrative film about the wave of Christian spirituality that originated out of ‘70s California, and its biggest star is Kelsey Grammer, who has been doing the round for this and for the new Frasier reboot. It’s always hard to gauge how faith-based films will fare, though it’s getting a wider release than I Can Only Imagine out of the gate. These movies tend to do better in parts of the country where Christianity is particularly pervasive, but I still feel this one will end up more in the $7 to 9 million range, enough to take third place.

One of the weekend’s oddities is the animated Mummies from Warner Bros. Animation, which is seemingly being dumped into moderately wide release this weekend with very little fanfare (or advance reviews), but it might end up just be getting a limited release for potential awards consideration.

Andie McDowell (Four Weddings and a Funeral) returns to the Britcom for My Happy Ending, which mystically, Roadside Attractions is giving a wide release probably into 600 to 800 theaters, which is not likely to get it into the top ten.

As mentioned above, Bleecker Street will expand its Emily Brontë biopic, Emily into 500+ theaters, also probably not enough to get into the top ten, while NEON releases the Oscar-nominated Irish film, The Quiet Girl, into select cities in hopes of bringing in business from those curious about its International Feature nomination.


Edward Douglas
Edward Douglas

Edward Douglas has been writing about the box office for 21 years at places like ComingSoon.netThe Tracking Board, and many others, but mostly under the banner of “The Weekend Warrior.” He’s also a film critic with bylines at Film JournalThe New York Daily NewsDen of Geek, and other places.

Box Office Breakdown will be posted each week by Monday morning. You can read other features by Edward Douglas over at Below the Line.

Edward Douglas
Edward Douglas
Edward Douglas has written about movies for print and the internet for over 20 years, specializing in box office analysis, reviews, and interviews. Currently, he writes features for Below the Line and Above the Line, acting as Associate Editor for the former and Interim Editor for the latter.
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