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Ant-Man & The Wasp buzzes to $76 million US debut

Ant-Man & The Wasp

Story by Jack Foley

MARVEL’S Ant-Man & The Wasp has buzzed straight to the top of the US box office with a $76 million debut.

The figure was 33% ahead of the first Ant-Man in what proved to be a winning result for yet another of Disney and Marvel Studios’ stand-alone superhero franchises.

Ant-Man & The Wasp is the 20th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and arrives in the wake of the staggering success of fellow Marvel titles Avengers: Infinity War and Black Panther, both of which set new box office records earlier this year.

Directed by Peyton Reed, who also helmed the first film, the sequel is co-headlined by Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly. The story finds Rudd reprising his role as Scott Lang/Ant-Man, while Lilly plays Hope van Dyne/Wasp. This time, they’re pitted against Hannah John-Kamen’s villain, Ghost.

In another interesting box office aside, Disney revealed that 45% of the audience was female, a larger share than usual for superhero fare, prompting Disney distribution chief Cathleen Taff to comment: “From a diversity perspective, [president] Kevin [Feige] and his team at Marvel have continued to play up all sorts of characters, and all different types of stories. The diversity in their filmmaking resonates with audiences.”

She added: “Ant-Man & The Wasp can’t be compared to The Avengers or a cultural phenomenon like Black Panther, and we are thrilled with where the film is.”

As far as Disney goes, the Mouse House can currently lay claim to five of the seven biggest openings of the year.

It scored a second victory alone this weekend as Incredibles 2 became the top-grossing animated film of all time in the US after passing fellow Pixar pic Finding Dory (2016), not adjusted for inflation.

Incredibles 2 finished Sunday with an estimated $503 million, compared to Finding Dory‘s $486.3 million final tally.

The weekend total for Incredibles 2 was an estimated $29 million, putting the animated sequel ahead of Universal’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, which followed at No. 3 with $28.6 million for a total to date of $333.3 million.

Offshore, the dinosaurs earned another $26.7 million for a foreign tally of $725.3 million and a global haul of $1.058 billion after joining the billion-dollar club last week.

Universal and Blumhouse’s The First Purge, which opened on July 4 in a bid to get a bit of a jump on Ant-Man, followed in fourth place with $17.2 million for a five-day debut of $31.1 million, which is roughly in line with previous outings in the series.

The film is a prequel that seeks to explain the origins of the annual ‘Purge’, a 12-hour period during which it is legal to commit any crime, including murder. It also attempts to hold a light to the current political debate, as Orr, Universal’s president of domestic distribution, noted: “The entire series has really tapped into the cultural zeitgeist. Our audience was definitely more diverse than usual for the genre, and slightly more diverse than previous Purge films.”

Rounding out the US top five, meanwhile, was crime thriller Sicario 2: Soldado, which added $7.3 million in its sophomore run. The film, a critical success, has now taken $35.3 million in the US alone.