The threequel continued a previous pattern of declining viewership numbers, but it debuted noticeably earlier than the first two stand-alone series installments. CinemaScores for MCU projects following a 21-movie straight-A winning streak.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, directed by Peyton Reed, made a strong American box office debut, earning $120 million in its first four days, one of the strongest Presidents Day weekend openings ever and by far the biggest start for Marvel’s understated franchise.
The third entry in the Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly series is nevertheless a cautious victory for Disney and Marvel Studios, who are at a pivotal moment as Marvel begins Phase 5 and conquering hero Bob Iger takes over as President of Walt Disney Co. The movie garnered a B CinemaScore from viewers, one of the few Marvel movies to receive one, and it is tied with Eternals (2021) for the lowest Rotten Tomatoes rating for a Marvel movie with a 47 percent rating.
Kevin Feige‘s Marvel Studios have been the envy of Hollywood ever since the original Iron Man introduced the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2008. With more than $28.5 billion in worldwide ticket sales, the MCU is the highest-grossing movie series of all time, with the renowned Avengers franchise serving as its leader.
MCU films have consistently received high CinemaScore ratings over the years, with around to 70% of films receiving an A CinemaScore or a grade in that range (A+, A, and A-).
Recent years have seen a change in that. Four of the five films receiving a B or B+ are among Marvel’s most recent six pictures, while none have received a B- or below. Quantumania and Eternals received the lowest grade of the most current group, a B, while Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Thor: Love and Thunder both received B+s. (The first iteration of Ant-Man achieved an A CinemaScore, whereas the sequel received an A-.)
Thor (B+), released in 2011, is the fifth MCU film to receive a CinemaScore in the B range. To put it another way, all 21 MCU movies that came after Thor were rated A.
It’s a worrying statistic, especially after Marvel’s Phase 4, which spans 2021–2022, saw the release of a staggering 18 films in theaters and on streaming services.
Marvel is taking steps to reduce its output as Phase 5 gets underway, delaying The Marvels until November and spreading out its TV projects. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will be released on May 2.