BOX OFFICE: “Ant-Man/Wasp/Quantumania” on track for $100 million weekend, $115 by President’s Day

A $17.5 million Thursday tipped us that the latest “Ant-Man and The Wasp” movie was going to have a better than fine, considerably less than overwhelming opening weekend at the box office.

Fold that in to what added up to a $44 million Friday, and it looks like Marvel’s latest is on track for a $100 million opening weekend. Projections were as high as $115-120, so Disney lowballing its expected take was the smart bet. They know what they had on their hands.

That’s better than “Ant-Man and The Wasp,” better than the feeble “Eternals” and middling “Black Widow,” if nowhere near a Top Ten or Fifteen Marvel opening.

Inflated ticket prices and February release date played their role in this as well.

Reviews have been weak to almost hostile. “Quantumania” has a derivative plot and settings, tepid jokes, middling villain, etc.

It should still hit $115 with President’s Day tossed in, so call it a win and expect the bottom to fall out the second weekend. It’ll keep the theaters busy until March.

“Puss in Boots: The Last Wish,” finally cat-bounced past “Avatar: The Shape of Water” for second place. A $6.5 million three-day and $8.5 million four day weekend pushes it to $170 million or so as parents and kids give this winner an Oscar nominated bounce. Could it reach $200 million by Oscar night?

Eddie Murphy made some noise after his Golden Globes speech about how “Donkey” from the “Shrek” movies should get a sequel. That seems like smart money. He said “Donkey’s a whole lot funnier than ‘Puss-in-Boots.” Dead wrong about that, Axel. Banderas made the kitty’s every purr a hoot. His acting, the exaggerated Castilian formality and bravado, made every “Puss” even funnier than the film around him. Donkey, like Murphy himself, needs scripted jokes. And by the end of Shrek, those were long exhausted.

“Avatar” will add another $6 and change and maybe clear $8 by midnight Monday — over $650 million, US, edging towards $700.

“Magic Mike’s Last Dance” didn’t plunge after its weak opening weekend, a 43% drop off might be the most respectable thing about that dog, which will be lucky to reach $25 million before losing its screens.

And expect “80 for Brady,” tailing off after a generally middling run ($33 million by Monday, thanks to a $4 million three-day/$4.4 four day) to prompt Tom Brady to “shockingly” announce one more unretirement. Maybe he’s figured out that’s his great gift, even as his skills fade, and that broadcasters, like actors even “playing” themselves in a movie, have to have a personality. He barely registers on the screen, big screen or small.


About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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