Weekend Report: 'Ant-Man' Raids Box Office
[Update] Ant-Man opened to $57.2M (was $58M) at the domestic box office, slightly under its projected $60-$65M opening, becoming the 12th film in Marvel's Cinematic Universe to open at #1. On 3,856 screens the film's per screen take was $14,840 (was $15,051).

It's a good thing that the Paul Rudd superhero film has an "A" CinemaScore as that's the lowest per-screen average of any of the 12 films. Coming in just slightly above Ant-Man is 2008's The Incredible Hulk ($15,810 per) Thor ($16,618) and Captain America: The First Avenger ($17,512). Disney/Marvel's marketing team must be given some kudos though. Even given the strong Marvel brand, the challenges of marketing a character unknown to the public at large, whose power is getting really tiny and controlling ants, was obvious. They wryly dealt with it head-on in their first trailer, where Paul Rudd's character asks if "it's too late to change the name," a scene that, though this can sometimes happen from trailer to screen, ironically doesn't appear in the finished film.

Universal's Minions toppled 57% off of its colossal $115.7M weekend last week, for $50.2M, but secured the #2 spot. That's a much steeper drop than Despicable Me, which dropped 41.8% in its second week and Despicable Me 2, which dropped 47.4%. It's very reminiscent of another animated high-earner though as Shrek the Third, which still owns the biggest animated opening weekend of all time, with $121.6M, dropped 56.4% in its following weekend in May of 2007.

Trainwreck, also from Universal, did much better than anticipated, pulling in a strong $30.2M for third place, proving the ascendency and draw of Amy Schumer. The R-rated comedy, which has an A- CinemaScore, made $9,575 per theater in 3,158 venues. 66% of the audience was female. It's director Judd Apatow's second best opening weekend ever, coming in just slightly under Knocked Up, which made $30.9M on its opening weekend in 2007.

Positive reviews and Schumer's high profile (she's even appeared on "CBS Sunday Morning") made sure Trainwreck didn't share the fate of Sex Tape, the R-rated comedy that flopped in this same frame last year with a lousy $14.6M opening.

The whole frame was up overall though with the top 12 earning $185.3M, a 37.4% increase over last year's $134.9M when Dawn of the Planet of the Apes held #1 for a second weekend with $36.3M. July is up 28.8% over last year.

Well worth noting is the excellent results of Roadside Attractions' Mr. Holmes, which stars Ian McKellen. The film did a robust $2.49M for 10th place with a $6,857 per screen average on 363 screens. McKellen plays the aging, Baker Street sleuth who is battling senility all the while grappling with his last unsolved case. For director Bill Condon it has to be a relief as Holmes just made 76% in its opening weekend of what the helmer's last film, The Fifth Estate, made in its entire run.

More to come....

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This Weekend in Past Years:

• 2014 - Weekend Report: 'Apes' Rules Again

• 2013 - 'Conjuring' Haunts First With Record Opening

• 2011 - 'Harry' Makes History

• 2010 - 'Inception' Incites Intense Interest

• 2009 - 'Harry Potter' Has Hot-Blooded Premiere

• 2008 - 'Dark Knight' Begins Smashingly

• 2007 - 'Chuck & Larry' Can't Stop 'Hairspray' Sheen

• 2006 - 'Pirates' Pilfer More Records

• 2005 - 'Charlie,' 'Crashers' Draw Golden Box Office Ticket

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