Feb 17, 2023 - Economy

Next Marvel era starts with “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania”

A screenshot from "Ant-Man: Quantumania."

A photo from "Ant-Man: Quantumania." Photo: Disney, Marvel Studios

The next phase of the Avengers' story begins this weekend with "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania."

The big picture: The newest Marvel movie is expected to be one of the biggest hits of the year and establish a new narrative path that Marvel Cinematic Universe fans have been itching for, all in lead up to "Avengers: The Kang Dynasty" in 2025 and "Avengers: Secret Wars" in 2026.

  • "Quantumania" is the first film of Marvel's phase five, which is a part of the ongoing “Multiverse Saga.”
  • The MCU’s massive collection of movies and series is broken up into multiple phases, three of which make up a saga. Phases one to three were identified by Marvel as “The Infinity Saga,” while phases four to six will make up the new "Multiverse Saga."

State of play: Critics and fans haven't been loving the vibe of the MCU since “Avengers: Endgame” dropped in 2019.

  • Much of the concern stems from recent MCU projects — like “Eternals” and “Thor: Love and Thunder” — feeling disconnected and separated from each other.
  • More recent MCU projects have been focused on introducing new heroes — like Moon Knight, She-Hulk and Ms. Marvel — instead of bringing familiar ones together.

Yes, but: Change is coming with "Quantumania" as Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors) — who is slated to be the MCU's new major villain moving forward and appear in multiple future films — makes his formal debut.

  • Fans may be familiar with a version of Kang, named He Who Remains (also played by Jonathan Majors), appeared in the Disney+ show "Loki" in 2021.
  • Critics have panned the film calling it “forgettable" and one of Marvel's "dullest and most unnecessary movies to date."
  • The bad reviews have prompted speculation that Marvel may be "losing its mojo" and box office dominance, per CNN.
  • That said, audiences seem to be enjoying it more than critics.

Because of this, "Quantumania" has some hulk-sized hype. Initial projections suggest the film will gross between $98 million and $128 million for its opening weekend and $249 million to $339 million overall, according to Box Office Pro.

This is setting up a box office battle between "Quantumania" and "Avatar: The Way of Water," which has been dominating the ticket booth since its release in late 2022.

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