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Weekend Box Office: America celebrates independence with funny superheroes

Ant-Man And The Wasp
Photo: Disney/Marvel

Having presumably gotten its fill of hot dogs, fireworks, and the summer heat, America spent much of the post-holiday weekend in a darkened, air-conditioned auditorium. Which is to say, the box office boomed in the aftermath of Independence Day, moviegoers flocking to films big and small. One studio in particular had reason to celebrate, and it was, of course, Disney, whose monopoly over the world’s biggest big-screen brands continued to pay off nicely, Solo’s soft impact aside.

Marvel, which releases movies under the Mouse House umbrella, scored its 20th consecutive no. 1 hit with Ant-Man And The Wasp, which swarmed to the top of the weekend charts with $76 million. That’s one of the, ahem, smaller debuts for an MCU title, but still considerably better than the $56 million the original Ant-Man got started with back in 2015, and proof that hunger for more entries in this ongoing mega-franchise has scarcely waned, even with upwards of three of them opening per year. (This year’s other two, Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War, are rather safely the biggest hits of 2018.) But winning the weekend was hardly the biggest victory Disney could brag about this Monday morning. Their real cause for celebration is the second-place finisher, fellow funny superhero blockbuster Incredibles 2, which just crossed the $500-million mark in the U.S.—a first for an animated movie, which makes it the highest grossing big-screen cartoon ever. (Domestically, anyway. It’s got a while to go before catching Minions on the worldwide charts.)


Given a two-day head start on its competition, prequel The First Purge channeled the outrage of an oppressed America—or maybe just benefited from an insatiable hunger for horror—to notch a $31-million debut, though the $17 million it made from Friday to Sunday is less than what its three predecessors made in their initial three days of release. Still, the latest entry in this low-budget, high-concept series still doubled its budget immediately, meaning that we can probably expect another trip to a dystopian, Dark-Knight-cosplay fake U.S. that looks increasingly like the dystopian, Dark-Knight-cosplay real U.S.. Looking at just the weekend, The First Purge landed in fourth place, below Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, whose own brand of broad, franchised thrills raked in another $28 million in its third weekend of release; its $333 million intake lands it safely in the “giant hit” department, though compared to the final numbers secured by 2015’s Jurassic World, it looks more like a compy than a mighty T-Rex.

On the limited-release front, the Mister Rogers doc Won’t You Be My Neighbor? pulled in another $2.5 million; with about $12 million in the bank, it’s edged out the similarly celebratory and biographical RBG to become the highest grossing documentary of 2018. Can Whitney catch it? Kevin Macdonald’s film about the rise and fall of Whitney Houston debuted with $1.2 million on about 450 screens, which means it’ll have an uphill battle to compete in this year’s nonfiction Olympics. Meanwhile, the wild satire Sorry To Bother You made $717,302 on four screens, which translates to about $44,000 per screen—easily the weekend’s highest average. If box-office success is a relative metric, consider this Sundance favorite an indie Ant-Man: It’s small but hits hard.

For more detailed numbers, visit Box Office Mojo.

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