ant-man atwq

Source: Disney

‘Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania’

Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania is the headline title at this weekend’s UK-Ireland box office, opening in 678 cinemas through Disney and looking to become the first of the Ant-Man trilogy to cross the £20m mark in the territory.

Peyton Reed returns as director having made the first two films. This instalment sees Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang and Evangeline Lilly’s Hope Van Dyne explore the Quantum Realm; new cast members include Kathryn Newton, and Jonathan Majors as the main antagonist Kang the Conqueror.

Ant-Man was the fifth Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) character to receive a standalone film with Ant-Man, which opened to £4m in July 2015, going on to a £16.3m total.

This was bettered by Ant-Man And The Wasp, which started with £5m in August 2018 and ended on £17.8m.

The two films are the 26th - and 24th -highest-grossing MCU titles to date. Marvel recently hit £34.3m with Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, £37.5m with last summer’s Thor: Love And Thunder, and £42m with Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness in the spring, suggesting that big totals are still achievable for Marvel sequels.

Quantumania is the first title in Phase Five of the MCU; it will be followed by James Gunn’s Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3, on May 5.

Universal is opening two titles this weekend: Sarah Polley’s drama Women Talking in 209 cinemas, and animation Marcel The Shell With Shoes On in 368 sites.

Women Talking started previews last weekend, taking £78,319 from 43 predominantly independent sites. Its expansion this weekend includes multiplex venues.

Based on Miriam Toews’ 2018 novel, the film centres on a group of women in an isolated religious community who are grappling with a brutal reality of sexual abuse. Rooney Mara, Judith Ivey, Claire Foy, Jessie Buckley, Frances McDormand and Ben Whishaw lead the cast. The film is up for two Oscars at next month’s ceremony – best picture and best adapted screenplay for Polley.

This was a smaller number than many in the industry had expected, with no recognition for its cast; with the film shut out entirely from the nominations for this weekend’s Bafta Film Awards.

Dean Fleischer Camp’s Marcel The Shell With Shoes On is a feature adaptation of the director’s 2010 short of the same name, about an anthropomorphic shell who lives with his grandmother.

Like Women Talking, the film premiered at Telluride, although Marcel’s debut was in 2021 and Women Talking in 2022. It has played multiple US festivals, on a lengthy road to an Oscar nomination for best animated feature.

Jenny Slate voices Marcel, with Isabella Rossellini as the grandmother.

Black Bear opens up

THE SON - Actor Hugh Jackman

Source: Venice Film Festival

‘The Son’

Black Bear Pictures is branching out into distribution with the release of Florian Zeller’s The Son starring Hugh Jackman, Laura Dern, Zen McGrath, Vanessa Kirby and Anthony Hopkins, in 196 cinemas. It acquired the title from previous distributor Lionsgate; Black Bear is headed by former STX International executive Llewellyn Radley.

The Son premiered in competition at Venice Film Festival last September, with Jackman nominated for best actor in a drama at the Golden Globes.

It is Zeller’s latest adaptation of his own plays, with the screenplay written with Christopher Hampton. The duo collaborated to success on The Father, winning the Oscar and Bafta for best adapted screenplay in 2021.

Signature Entertainment is opening Elegance Bratton’s Toronto 2022 drama The Inspection, about a young gay Black man who aims to prove himself by joining the marines, having been rejected by his mother.

Limited UK-Ireland releases include Frankie Fenton’s nuclear energy documentary Atomic Hope in three sites through Wildcard Distribution; Brian Vincent’s New York City art scene documentary Make Me Famous in two sites across the next week through producers Red Splat Productions; Mario Martone’s Cannes 2022 title Nostalgia in 24 sites through Curzon; and Apple Original Films title Sharper, a thriller starring Julianne Moore and Sebastian Stan, exclusively on 13 Everyman screens.

Key holdovers are two-time number one Puss In Boots: The Last Wish from Universal, plus Warner Bros’ Magic Mike’s Last Dance and Disney’s Titanic 25th anniversary re-release.