New in Theaters July 06: Ant-Man and the Wasp, The First Purge

By Chris Kavan - 07/05/18 at 11:16 AM CT

Here we go - as if Disney hasn't already made all the money this year, they are looking down the barrel of yet another blockbuster as the latest Marvel film rolls into theaters. Sure, I'm guessing it's not going to reach the heights of Black Panther or Avengers: Infinity War, but it doesn't have to - simply meeting the Marvel status quo will be enough to be considered a smash hit, and I don't see why it won't. But if you're feeling like you need to vent some of that anger - there is another Purge, this time going back to the roots of the issue. That's right, it's prequel time.

ANT-MAN AND THE WASP After the absolute gut-punch of an ending that Infinity War threw, we all need to lighten up a bit in the MCU. Lucky for us, Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly are here to bring the fun back. While I'm not expecting a near outright comedy like Thor: Ragnarok, I do think Ant-Man and the Wasp is going to have a much lighter tone, with Rudd's brand of humor, fully intact. The film takes place before the events of Infinity War (in which we're informed of Ant-Man/Scott Lang's absence due to house arrest) and thus instead of fighting off Thanos, Lang and Hope Van Dyne are given a mission by Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) to find his wife, long lost in the micro-verse, which Ant-Man successfully traveled to and survived in the first film. That we know Michelle Pfeiffer is playing Janet Van Dyne (and the original Wasp) means the mission should succeed (on some level). But the missions has consequences when they also unleash Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen) who has a debt to settle with Dr. Pym. The cast includes the return of Michael Peña, T.I., Judy Greer, Bobby Cannavale, David Dastmalchian and Abby Ryder Fortson with the addition of Walton Goggins, Randall Park and Laurence Fishburne to the cast, among others. Most films in the MCU tend to fall in a wide path of $200-$380 million. I think shooting for Thor: Ragnarok's $315 million would be a good mark to shoot for, though it could easily fall a bit short of that mark. Still, I expect this to uphold the MCU brand and turn in another nice, tidy profit for Disney.

THE FIRST PURGE Having already opened early (July 4th - how patriotic), the film scored $2.5 million in early previews with $9.5 million for the first day. That means the outlook for the weekend has been upped from $25 million to near $35 million - which would be a fantastic start for the film. The film explores the origins of The Purge (hence the snappy title) and doesn't shy away from the series take on both economic and racial bias and, in fact, seems to double-down on the political commentary (and, given the current circumstances, why the hell not?). While this has divided critics (with a current 51% on Rotten Tomatoes), it is looking like audiences are more open. Aside from the rather generic first film, the Purge series has been a solid horror series that actually has something to say under all that violence. The First Purge looks to continue the message and could find itself as the most successful film in the franchise yet.

The potentially long holiday period means there will be plenty of people looking for something to watch and both new films will benefit while Fallen Kingdom and Incredibles 2 continue to stay the course. I'll be back on Sunday with the results.


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