The saying goes that you ant keep a good man down. This weekend, Paul Rudd returns to theaters as Ant-Man, Marvel Studios’ size-shifting superhero. Peyton Reed, director of the first Ant-Man, returns to helm the sequel, which sees Hope Van Dyne (played by Evangeline Lilly) don a super-suit of her own as she joins the fray. In Ant-Man and the Wasp, Dyne teams up with Scott Lang (Rudd) after her father, Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), presents an urgent new mission that pits them against an antagonist known as Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen) as they fight to uncover secrets from their past.
Ant-Man proved to be a modest hit for Marvel when it debuted in the summer of 2015, opening with $57 million (domestic) and finishing with a Giant-Man-sized $519 million (worldwide). The sequel hopes to improve upon that total, riding the hype from Avengers: Infinity War‘s $2 billion+ global box office sum, and serving as a more light-hearted counterpoint to Infinity War‘s grim ending. Variety estimates that the film will open to around $80 million, though some box office pundits see the movie earning as much as $100 million.
Reviews have been positive for the superhero flick, with Rotten Tomatoes certifying it fresh at 86% positive. If audiences enjoy the ride, then positive word of mouth should propel the sequel into the upper echelon of box office predictions. After Ant-Man’s conspicuous absence in Infinity War, Marvel hopes that Rudd and company’s comedic adventure serves as a palate-cleanser of sorts as their cinematic universe heads toward next year’s double-whammy of Captain Marvel and the as-yet-untitled Avengers: 4.
The tagline for Ant-Man and the Wasp is “Real heroes. Not actual size,” but I’d like to think that in an alternate timeline (or the Quantum Realm), the tagline would be “King Kong Ant Got Shit on Me.” Ant-Man and the Wasp debuts in cinemas on Thursday evening (7/5), so get your tickets ahead of time or you may feel the sting of disappointment when your local theater is sold out.