Disney’s “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” collected $17.5 million in Thursday night previews on its way towards a $100 million opening weekend.
The latest Marvel Cinematic Universe flick is the first entrant in the franchise’s phase five, the middle phase of the Multiverse Saga.
“Quantumania’s” Thursday numbers are on pace with 2017’s “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” which went on to collect $147 million during its opening. Previously, 2015’s “Ant-Man” snared $6 million on Thursday before tallying $57 million over the three-day spready. 2018’s “Ant-Man and the Wasp” secured $12 million on its Thursday debut and $76 million across Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Thursday previews are included in the total opening weekend haul.
“‘Quantumania’ is tracking to become the best February box office opener in five years,” said Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at BoxOffice.com.
Hype surrounding the big screen debut of Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors) is likely to help drive foot traffic to theaters this weekend. Kang is the next big bad of the MCU, as teased during his debut in the Disney+ series “Loki” last year.
Additionally, Robbins noted that moviegoers have been gravitating towards more expensive premium theater experiences for tentpole films like “Quantumania,” and that will likely lead to a boost in ticket sales.
Lackluster critical reviews of the film likely won’t deter moviegoers. The film held a 47% rating on Rotten Tomatoes from verified critics, as of Friday afternoon, but an 84% score from audiences. “Quantumania” is one of only two MCU films to generate a “rotten” rating on the review aggregator.
Disney also announced Friday that it is postponing the release of “The Marvels,” a film centered on Captain Marvel, Ms. Marvel and Monica Rambeau, to Nov. 10. The film had previous been set to debut on July 28.
It is unclear why the studio is pushing the release, but it could be an effort to stagger content from the Marvel universe. “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” is slated for release on May 5. Additionally, the company has a handful of TV series set to air on Disney+ in the next 12 to 18 months.
Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC. NBCUniversal owns Rotten Tomatoes.