Just two months after Marvel released Avengers: Age of Ultron, the studio brings Phase Two of its massive superhero universe to a close this weekend with Ant-Man. The only other movie it faces is the critically-acclaimed comedy Trainwreck, with last weekend's winner Minions eyeing its second straight win. Who will come out on top in this three-way box office slugfest? Will it be the miniscule Marvel hero or the promiscuous blonde or those loveable yellow creatures? The smart money this weekend, naturally, is on the Ant-Man.
While it's still far below Minions' 4,312-theater rollout, Ant-Man is opening in 3,856 theaters starting today, with Trainwreck opening in 3,157 theaters. Both movies have been received positively by the nation's critics, with Ant-Man currently holding a 73% "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with Trainwreck at 87% "Fresh." Naturally, both movies will attract different audiences, but it's no surprise that Ant-Man is expected to come out on top, given Marvel's box office pedigree. The first 11 MCU movies have opened in the top spot at the box office, dating back to 2008's Iron Man, a trend that will surely continue with Ant-Man, which is tracking in the $60 million to $70 million range.
Trainwreck, which marks the big-screen writing debut for star Amy Schumer, in her first major studio role, is expected to perform well in its opening weekend, providing a comedic alternative to those who aren't necessarily fans of superhero movies. This new release will be the third R-rated comedy this summer, following Spy ($29 million opening weekend, $104.8 million domestic) and Ted 2 ($33.5 million opening weekend, $74.2 million domestic), both of which suffered significant drops after their opening weekend. While Ted 2 was trashed by critics, Spy was universally beloved, although positive reviews didn't necessarily turn the comedy into a box office juggernaut. We'll have to wait and see if Trainwreck can reverse the trend of underperforming R-rated comedies this weekend, with the movie expected to take in between $20 million and $30 million. The figure is on par with the first two R-rated comedies this year, but the true test will be to see how much it drops next weekend.
Minions will likely drop to second place between Ant-Man and Trainwreck, between $50 million and $60 million, and there likely won't be too many significant changes with the rest of the top 10. There are also four critically-acclaimed movies opening in limited release, Mr. Holmes, Irrational Man, The Look of Silence and The Stanford Prison Experiment. Mr. Holmes has the "widest" release of these four, opening in 363 theaters, while the rest open in just a handful of theaters. It's possible that Mr. Holmes could crack the top 10 if it pulls in a strong per-screen average, but most box office prognosticators don't have this indie drama in their sights, so we'll have to wait and see how it performs.
With all that being said, is there no question that Ant-Man will come out on top? Or do you think Trainwreck can pull off a stunning upset? Check out our projected top 10 movies at the box office this weekend, and let us know what you think of our predictions. Be sure to check back here on Sunday morning when the box office estimates are released, to see how your favorite films fared in theaters over the weekend.
PREDICTED WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: