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‘Ant-Man’ crawls to top of N.America box office

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Actor Paul Rudd and his wife Julie Yaeger, a writer, are seen on February 6, 2023 at the world premiere in Los Angeles of 'Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania'./AFP
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Feb 20, 2023 - 12:43 PM

LOS ANGELES — Disney’s “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” has created an unexpected buzz, taking in an estimated $118 million over a long holiday weekend to dominate the North American box office.

That estimate, from industry watcher Exhibitor Relations, exceeded predictions and gave the latest Marvel superhero film one of the strongest totals ever for a four-day US Presidents Day weekend.

“This is an excellent opening by Marvel’s own sensational standards,” said analyst David A. Gross of Franchise Entertainment Research. Despite “uncharacteristically soft” reviews and audience scores, he said, “this is excellent business and a big step up for the title.”

With Paul Rudd again playing the microscopic Ant-Man and Evangeline Lilly as an heiress able to shrink to the size of a Wasp, the film blew the weekend competition aside.

“Avatar: The Way of Water” placed a very distant second at $7.5 million — though the 20th Century mixed-animation film has now compiled a none-too-shabby global total of $2.24 billion.

That places the James Cameron-directed sequel at third in the all-time global box office rankings, kicking out his 1997 classic Titanic — currently back in theaters as a 25th anniversary special edition — from the top three.

The original Avatar, released in 2009 and also directed by Cameron, holds to the top spot at $2.9 billion.

Universal’s family-oriented “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” placed third in the long weekend with a solid $7.4 million in its ninth week out.

In fourth place was last weekend’s leader, Warner Bros. comedy-drama “Magic Mike’s Last Dance,” at $5.8 million. Channing Tatum stars as a retired, and very big-hearted, stripper in Steven Soderbergh’s latest film.

And in fifth was another Universal film, M. Night Shyamalan’s creepy thriller “Knock at the Cabin,” at $4.6 million.

Rounding out the top 10 were:

“80 for Brady” ($4.3 million)

“Titanic: 25th Anniversary” ($2.7 million)

“Marlowe”($2.2 million)

“Missing” ($2.0 million)

“A Man Called Otto” ($1.9 million)

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