Both the new Marvel film “Ant-Man” and the Amy Schumer comedy “Trainwreck” performed well at the box office this weekend, with “Ant-Man” coming in first.
“Ant-Man,” which stars actor Paul Rudd as ex-con Scott Lang, who is recruited by scientist Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) to save the world by shrinking to a tiny version of himself, grossed $58 million, while the animated film “Minions,” based on the characters from the successful “Despicable Me” film series, came in at number two with more than $50 million. This weekend was "Minions's" second weekend in theaters.
Meanwhile, “Trainwreck” placed third, grossing more than $30 million. “Trainwreck” stars Schumer as a character of the same name who is against settling down until she meets and begins dating a sports doctor (Bill Hader). Judd Apatow directed the film and "Trainwreck" is his second-best opening for a movie after the 2007 film "Knocked Up."
“Inside Out,” which was released by Pixar earlier this summer, came in fourth, while the sequel “Jurassic World” placed fifth and “Terminator Genisys,” the newest film in the science fiction saga, came in behind “Jurassic.”
This past weekend was an example of successfully wooing audiences with a wide range of genre options. Rather than opening two similar films in the same weekend, studios opted to have two very different films open together and both succeeded: those who didn’t want to see another superhero film could seek out Schumer’s romantic comedy and vice versa. This strategy succeeded earlier this year with the weekend that saw “Mad Max: Fury Road” and “Pitch Perfect 2” open on the same weekend, two very different films that both triumphed at the box office.
“Each film absolutely found its target audience," Rentrak box office analyst Paul Dergarabedian said of "Pitch" and "Mad" at the time. "They were running on parallel tracks, and both exceeded expectations by not cannibalizing each other. It was the perfect release strategy for two very different, high-profile films ... it really paid off handsomely.”
The plan has fizzled at other points this summer – while “Terminator Genisys” and “Magic Mike XXL” are obviously two very different films as well, neither found much of an audience when they opened over the Fourth of July weekend, but their less successful openings can be attributed to factors such as poor reviews for “Genisys” and the success of “Jurassic” and “Inside Out,” which were still going strong when “Terminator” and “Mike” opened.
If Hollywood continues to provide audiences with a wide range of options, we could see more audience members heading for the multiplex as the summer continues.