Ant-Man’s move away from 007 pays off

A Jack Kirby cover featuring Ant Man

A Jack Kirby cover featuring Ant Man

Ant-Man, the newest Marvel movie, came in at No. 1 in the U.S. movie box office this weekend, according to BOX OFFICE MOJO.

The film had estimated ticket sales of $58 million. (UPDATE, July 20: final, actual figure was $57.2 million.) Ant-Man was originally scheduled for Nov. 6, but was moved up to July when SPECTRE (then just titled Bond 24), also got scheduled for Nov. 6 in the United States.

Ant-Man features one of Marvel’s oldest — but most obscure to the general public — characters.

The lead character, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), was actually the second version of Ant-Man, introduced in comic books in the late 1970s. Michael Douglas plays Hank Pym, the original version, who made his debut in 1962.

The new movie has been in development since 2006, before Marvel began making its own films with 2008’s Iron Man. The project’s original director-writer, Edgar Wright, departed the project. The new movie establishes connections with previous Marvel films.

In any case, Ant-Man had been seen as a relatively risky project for Marvel. It’s not a blockbuster on the scale of other Marvel films, but it has gotten off to a good start at the box office. Avoiding 007 as competition appears to be a wise move.