Quantumania Was Critic Proof At The Box Office As Ant-Man Nabs Third Best President's Day Weekend Ever

The first bonafide blockbuster of 2023 arrived in theaters over the weekend in the form of Marvel's "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania." And while some people are feeling a touch of Marvel fatigue (critics, for their part, were pretty mixed on this one), it didn't matter. The Marvel Cinematic Universe delivered once again as the third solo "Ant-Man" flick exceeded expectations on its way to a $105.5 million opening weekend, per The Numbers. Including the Monday President's Day holiday, that number should climb to $120 million or more. Needless to day, Disney is quite happy, despite the not-so-great reception.

Even more than 2021's "Eternals," director Peyton Reed's "Quantumania" has proved that the MCU remains the most bullet-proof brand in all of entertainment. Despite having a 47% "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the film bested estimates heading into the weekend and easily set an "Ant-Man" franchise record, with the original film opening to $57 million and 2018's "Ant-Man and the Wasp" debuting to $76 million. And yet, both of those movies resonated more with critics. For now, it simply doesn't matter. Marvel is still seemingly critic-proof and, until a lot more people show exhaustion with the brand, this is probably going to continue to happen.

As for President's Day weekend, "Quantumania" will stand as the third-best debut ever during the holiday in question, with only "Deadpool" ($132.4 million three day/$152.1 million four day) and "Black Panther" ($202 million three day/$242.1 million four day) doing better. Internationally, the MCU's latest took in $121.3 million to kick things off for a $226.8 million global total. The only somewhat negative element to all of this is that the film opened soft in China with just $19.2 million. It's money Marvel is surely happy to have, but it's far less than "Ant-Man and the Wasp" ($66.6 million) earned there on its opening just five years ago.

And the rest...

"Avatar: The Way of Water" was a distant second in its tenth weekend, taking in another $6.1 million. That was just enough to put it past "Titanic" (which was at number seven this weekend thanks to its current re-release) as the third biggest movie ever globally, with $2.243 billion to its name. Director James Cameron owns three of the top four spots on that list, with the original "Avatar" still ranking as the highest-grossing movie ever, while "Avengers: Endgame" sits in the number two spot. Who knows? Maybe Cameron will own all five of the top slots after the "Avatar" sequels run their course.

The number three spot this week went to "Magic Mike's Last Dance," which dropped just 35% from its opening last weekend. It also expanded into more than 3,000 screens, with Warner Bros. seemingly trying to give this one a fairer shake. Unfortunately, with just shy of $39 million to its name globally thus far, that $40 million budget is going to be tough to justify. A bummer, to be sure.

Meanwhile, "Puss in Boots: The Last Wish" added $5.26 million in weekend nine while crossing $423.3 million worldwide. It has passed "Sing 2" ($408 million) and has a real shot at $450 million. Remarkable stuff, given its long legs. Rounding out the top five was M. Night Shyamalan's "Knock at the Cabin," which added $3.9 million, bringing its worldwide total to $47.8 million. With a $20 million budget, it still needs to probably get closer to $60 million to become profitable, but it's at least going to get close.

Looking ahead, Universal's "Cocaine Bear" hits theaters this upcoming weekend and should make for a very interesting battle at the box office, to say the very least of it.

Top 10 movies at the box office for February 17-19, 2023:

1. "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania" – $105.5 million

2. "Avatar: The Way of Water" – $6.1 million

3. "Magic Mike's Last Dance" – $5.5 million

4. "Puss in Boots: The Last Wish" – $5.26 million

5. "Knock at the Cabin" – $3.9 million

6. "80 for Brady" – $3.75 million

7. "Titanic" (re-release) – $2.41 million

8. "Marlowe" – $1.91 million

9. "Missing" – $1.72 million

10. "A Man Called Otto" – $1.6 million