Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is one of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s most disappointing releases, with the movie’s box office becoming the franchise’s worst in 12 years. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania was not the successful release Marvel Studios hoped to start its Phase 5 with. The Ant-Man trilogy finale ended its global box office run with $476 million, according to Box Office Mojo. The amount is not only a major step back after its predecessor, Ant-Man and the Wasp, managed to make $622 million worldwide, but the third movie’s totals also pale in comparison to the original Ant-Man, which brought in $519 million.
Several factors contributed to the movie not finding a big audience; however, none of the external reasons are more significant to Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania‘s failure at the box office than the film’s own doing. Quantumania received some of the worst critic scores of the MCU, which had a major impact on the movie’s success. While the MCU’s Phase 4, which preceded the third Ant-Man‘s release, was the most uneven in the franchise, there are films both during and after it that were successful, which means Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania‘s bad performance is directly connected to the film just not being as good as was hoped.
Quantumania’s Box Office Is The Worst Since 2011 (Outside Of Pandemic Releases)
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania‘s poor box office performance has led to the film achieving the worst MCU box office since 2011. While Black Widow‘s $379 million, Eternals‘ $402 million, and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings‘ $432 million all were inferior to Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania‘s $476 million global box office run, the three movies were released during the COVID-19 pandemic, making them special cases. When compared to Marvel’s most recent releases, such as Spider-Man: No Way Home, which brought in $1.9 billion, or Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which is currently at $659 million, the third Ant-Man falls extremely short.
To find the last movie that had a lower box office sum than Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, one has to go all the way back to the MCU’s 2011 releases. That year saw Chris Hemsworth’s Thor finish its box office run with $449 million, while Chris Evans’ World War II film, Captain America: The First Avenger, ended with an even lower sum, totaling $370 million. Both the first Thor and Captain America films clocked in lower than Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania; however, the trilogy finales for both heroes easily outgrossed the third Ant-Man film, showing how the movie managed to fail the upwards trend of MCU sequels.
Even 2011’s MCU Movies Beat Quantumania’s Box Office (Adjusted For Inflation)
Even the two MCU movies from 2011 that failed to match Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania‘s global box office managed to beat the film’s earnings when adjusted for inflation. Thor‘s box office total jumps from $449 million to $595 million while Captain America: The First Avenger goes from $370 million to $490 million, edging out Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania‘s $476 million global box office. Not counting the pandemic releases, when adjusted for inflation, there is only one MCU movie to make less at the box office than the third Ant-Man.
The film in question is 2008’s The Incredible Hulk, which featured Edward Norton as the Green Goliath, years before the part would be recast with Mark Ruffalo in the role for 2012’s The Avengers and the MCU’s future. Norton’s solo movie as the Hulk grossed $264 million, with its total adjusted for inflation reaching just $364 million, which still falls around a hundred million short of matching Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania‘s $476 million total. This makes The Incredible Hulk the only non-pandemic release to gross less than the third Ant-Man film when adjusted for inflation.
Ant-Man & The Wasp: Quantumania’s Box Office Is The MCU’s Worst Sequel
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania‘s total gross is even worse for one big reason, as the movie is the lowest-grossing sequel in the MCU. Sadly, that mark is not unknown to the MCU franchise led by Paul Rudd, as the previous movie to hold the negative record was 2018’s Ant-Man and the Wasp, which grossed $622 million globally. That film managed to break the negative MCU record by narrowly coming in lower than 2010’s Iron Man 2, which ended its box office run with $624 million.
While the Ant-Man franchise faltered with its sequels, the 2011 MCU movies that came in lower than Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania‘s $476 million global total, Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger, managed to grow with each movie. The third films for the original members of the Avengers, Captain America: Civil War and Thor: Ragnarok, easily surpassed Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania‘s total gross at the worldwide box office. Thor: Ragnarok achieved a healthy $855 million, while Captain America: Civil War broke the $1 billion barrier, going on to gross $1. 155 billion worldwide.
Why Ant-Man & The Wasp: Quantumania Underperformed At The Box Office
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania‘s box office is bad for the MCU, as the movie tanked after having a strong start with the best opening weekend of the hero’s trilogy. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania then had the biggest second-weekend box office drop in the MCU. The feat showed how most Marvel movies were heavily front-loaded at the box office during the Multiverse Saga. The second-weekend drops during the Infinity Saga averaged 55.5 percent, going up to 64.9 percent during Phase 4. While the pandemic and the faster release of MCU movies on Disney+ did play a role in that, the third Ant-Man could have escaped that fate.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania had audiences and critics split, with the movie receiving some of the worst reviews in MCU history, while audiences had a lukewarm to positive outlook on the film. The Ant-Man trilogy finale had many problems. The movie left most of its characters with no real arc and abandoned the real world for the Quantum Realm — losing fun aspects of the lead hero’s powers. The film also had some really questionable use of CGI, which became one of the movie’s most criticized aspects, then leading to the reveal that Marvel has a major VFX issue ongoing. This and more contributed to the film’s box office failure.
What Ant-Man & The Wasp: Quantumania’s Box Office Means For The MCU
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania was supposed to course-correct the MCU after an uneven Phase 4, but the film raised a question mark after Phase 5’s first release underperformed. It’s clear that MCU movies aren’t guaranteed critical or commercial home runs. Thankfully, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 has shown Marvel the path forward, with the film being incredibly well-received. If Marvel can keep up that level of quality, then Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania‘s failure can serve as the biggest lesson of what not to do in the future.