Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania Is Officially The Lowest-Grossing Ant-Man Movie

It's official: "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania" is going to finish its run in theaters as the lowest-grossing entry in the franchise. While that fact had been evident for a few weeks now, it was worth waiting until the final nail was truly put in the coffin to make such a damning declaration — but here we are. The latest entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe fell all the way to number 24 on the charts at the U.S. box office for April 14-16, 2023, taking in just $44,000, per Box Office Mojo. As its Digital release approaches rapidly this week, that was pretty much its last gasp of air.

While the movie will pad its total out a little before completely finishing its global run, director Peyto Reed's "Quantumania" has earned $466.9 million, and will likely only reach $470 million by the time it's truly good and done. But that's more or less what we're looking at, meaning it will finish well below the totals for 2015's "Ant-Man" ($518.8 million) and 2018's "Ant-Man and the Wasp" ($623.1 million). To make matters worse, both of those movies had reported budgets in the $130 million range, whereas the finale to Scott Lang's trilogy carries a whopping $200 million budget.

It's a brutal result for a myriad of reasons. For one, Disney and Marvel Studios sold this as an Avengers-level film with Kang the Conqueror making his big screen debut. That helped on its opening weekend, with "Quantumania" earning $106.1 million. However, it fell off a cliff on weekend two and it's been riding a downward-bound train ever since. Considering this kicked off Phase 5 of the MCU and introduced the character that is ostensibly the new Thanos, it's unfortunate (to put it lightly).

One of the MCU's only true flops

It really only gets worse when we dive deeper into the numbers. Not only is this one of the worst-reviewed MCU movies to date right alongside "Eternals," but it's also one of the lowest-grossing overall. Of the 31 MCU movies to arrive in theaters since 2008's "Iron Man," only six of them have earned less globally than "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania." They are "Thor" ($449 million), "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings" ($432 million), "Eternals" ($401 million), "Black Widow" ($379 million), "Captain America: The First Avenger" ($370 million), and "The Incredible Hulk" ($265 million).

Three of those movies ("Shang-Chi," "Eternals," "Black Widow") were all hampered by the pandemic in various ways, while the other three were all part of Phase 1 of the MCU while the universe was still taking shape. Even so, "Thor" was a pretty sizable success for a fantasy movie at the time. This to say, "Quantumania" is one of the only outright flops in the history of the larger franchise. "Eternals" was a risky bet on unknown characters that was dealt a bad hand by Covid in addition to its mixed reviews. In this case, we're dealing with Paul Rudd's third solo outing as Scott Lang. It should have built on what came before, rather than go tumbling down in the wrong direction.

One must wonder at what point this becomes a concern for the MCU in a larger way. Recent MCU sequels like "Thor: Love and Thunder" also underperformed compared to their predecessors critically and commercially, with Marvel's brand showing some signs of wear. If "The Marvels" or (unlikely though it may be) "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" underperform as well, it may be time for Bob Iger and Kevin Feige to take a much harder look at things behind the scenes.

"Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantuamania" arrives on Digital on April 18, 2023, and Blu-ray about one month later on May 16.