It looks like Marvel Studios has another sleeper hit on its hands in Ant-Man. It just might be more sleepy than Guardians of the Galaxy.
I haven’t seen the film yet, although I’ve heard reports. Those reports are all saying the same thing: the Marvel Cinematic Universe is strong. I don’t see how any studio can really hope to compete with the behemoth that the MCU has become. No, the movie didn’t meet expectations, making a hair less than $60 million in its opening weekend, but that really doesn’t mean much. There are films that would kill to have that kind of opening with a character such as this.
Ant-Man isn’t a huge character. Definitely D-list, no matter how long he’s been around (founding member of the Avengers, creator of Ultron, different iterations of the character). This speaks to the fundamental strength of Marvel characters, and the formula that Marvel Studios has managed to come up with to tell the stories in the growing tapestry of their world.
Really, it’s just further evidence that Warner Brothers should be shaking in their boots. The announcement of a full slate of movies in their own tapestry isn’t enough. Superman isn’t enough, because the previous movie was a flop, and the current iteration has a portrayal that a lot of people don’t agree with. They’re going for an older iteration of Batman, one that they can’t back away from down the road without changing who’s wearing the cape and cowl (the character, not the actor). Even though Warners have announced a formal film featuring a female lead before Marvel, they’re still having trouble with the execution of that.
Marvel’s brand is strong. The success of Ant-Man shows this. The next films to come out that aren’t part of the Avengers brand are going to show this. Doctor Strange and Black Panther are going to show this. And even though Warners says they’re not in competition with Marvel, they know they are, and they’re getting their collective ass kicked. And it has to sting.
Because Ant-Man is a sleeper hit.