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LOS ANGELES, July 8, 2018 (News Wires) - “Ant-Man and the Wasp” squashed the competition at the domestic box office.

The Marvel sequel — starring Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly — opened with $76 million from 4,206 North American locations. That start is significantly ahead of the original “Ant-Man,” which debuted with $57 million in 2015.

“Ant-Man and the Wasp” easily topped the weekend, as fellow box office newcomer “The First Purge” scared up $17 million from 3,031 theaters. Meanwhile, “Incredibles 2” narrowly stole the No. 2 spot from “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.” The blockbusters earned $29 million and $28.6 million respectively this weekend.

Overseas, “Ant-Man and the Wasp” collected $85 million, bringing the worldwide opening to $161 million. Across 20 films, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has brought in $17 billion globally. All 20 films have opened No. 1 at the box office.

Praise seems to be strong for “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” which holds a promising 86 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. The acclaimed first film came in slightly lower with an 82 percent Rotten Tomatoes average.

“We are really thrilled about the results,” Cathleen Taff, Disney’s head of domestic distribution, said. “We continue to be amazed by what Kevin Feige and the team do with these films.”

Taff also pointed to Lily as Marvel’s first female title character. “Kevin and his team always try to come up with a great story diversity. I think you see that come to play here,” she said.

With a production budget around $162 million, “Ant-Man and the Wasp” looks like another win for Marvel. The studio has had a string of box office hits in 2018 with “Avengers: Infinity War” racking up over $2 billion and counting, and “Black Panther” passing $1.3 billion globally.

Universal and Blumhouse’s “The First Purge” debuted on Independence Day, getting a head start on the weekend. Its five-day total sits at $31 million. Gerard McMurray directed the $13 million film, which was written and produced by James DeMonaco.

Jim Orr, Universal’s president of domestic distribution, praised DeMonaco and Blumhouse for the strong opening.

“The new chapter really taps into the zeitgeist. It’s the fourth in a franchise that they happen to keep very relevant,” he said. “We think we’re going to be great counter-programming for the rest of the summer.”

The fourth movie in the series serves as an origin story, starring Y’lan Noel, Lex Scott Davis, Joivan Wade, Luna Lauren Velez, and Marisa Tomei. The most recent iteration was 2016’s “The Purge: Election Year,” which ended its theatrical run with $79 million domestically and $118.5 million worldwide. “The “Purge” movies have pocketed over $360 million globally.

Universal and Amblin Entertainment’s “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” recently charged past $1 billion at the worldwide box office. In three weeks, the dinosaur tentpole has earned $333.3 million in North America.

Now in its fourth frame, Disney-Pixar’s “Incredibles 2” just hit a major milestone of its own. Everyone’s favorite crime-fighting family has crossed the $500 million mark domestically and $700 million worldwide. It’s the first animated film to ever surpass $500 million at the North American box office, and the 12th film ever to do so. Internationally, “Incredibles 2” has made $269 million.

Also in the top five is Sony’s “Sicario: Day of the Soldado.” The Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin-led sequel picked up another $7.6 million, taking the domestic tally to $35 million.

At the specialty box office, Roadside Attractions and Miramax’s “Whitney” bowed with $1.3 million from 452 locations. The documentary focusing on the life and career of Whitney Houston holds an A CinemaScore and a Rotten Tomatoes average of 90 percent.

Also opening in limited release was Annapurna’s “Sorry to Bother You,” which landed the best per screen average of the weekend with $44,881. Boots Riley’s film brought in $717,302 when it opened in 16 theaters. Lakeith Stanfield, Armie Hammer, Tessa Thompson, Steven Yeun, Danny Glover, Terry Crews, David Cross, Patton Oswalt, and Omari Hardwick round out the cast.

Elsewhere, Focus Features’ “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” landed in the top 10 at the domestic box office again, drawing another $2.6 million when it expanded to 893 locations. In five weeks, the documentary on Fred Rogers has amassed an impressive $12.4 million.

Another documentary, Neon’s “Three Identical Strangers” earned $717,008 million from 5 locations, bringing its domestic tally past $1 million.

LOS ANGELES, July 4, 2018 (News Wires) - Long before filming began, actress Evangeline Lilly had an idea of the fighting style she wanted to display with her Marvel superhero character, the Wasp.

Lilly, known for her role on science-fiction television series “Lost,” said she worked with stunt women to distinguish the Wasp’s moves from those of Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow or Marvel’s male superheroes.

“I wanted her to move in a way that honored the comic book, which meant she would move in a very elegant, feminine, graceful way, and still look lethal,” Lilly said in an interview ahead of the release of “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” which starts rolling out in worldwide theaters on Wednesday.

The movie is Marvel’s 20th feature film and the first to spotlight a female character in the title.

“It’s about time, right?” said Paul Rudd, who plays Ant-Man and was also one of the film’s writers. The pair modeled their relationship after on-screen crime-fighting duos with “this charged, kind of playful and mildly annoyed at one another dynamic,” he said, adding: “She’s as bad ass as it gets.”

Lilly also wanted audiences to see her sweat as she and Rudd raced to rescue vitally important stolen technology, according to director Peyton Reed, who worked with the actress even before the script was written to develop the character.

“Evangeline was very specific,” Reed said, “like ‘I don’t want to be glam. I want to sweat after I fight’ ... and ‘I want it to feel real like what a woman would feel like in this suit.”

 

“Ant-Man and the Wasp” is a sequel to 2015 movie “Ant-Man.” In that film, Lilly’s character, Hope van Dyne, does not learn until the movie’s end that her father has built a suit that gives her power to transform to various sizes and fly. The characters often shrink to insect-like proportions to avoid obstacles and detection.

After April’s over-the-top epic “Avengers: Infinity War,” Marvel also downsized the story for “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” focusing on a small group of characters and a quest to reunite with Hope’s mother.

“In some sense, this is an old-fashioned family movie,” said Michael Douglas, who plays Hope’s father, Hank Pym.

The movie does give a clue as to how Ant-Man and the Wasp fit into the events of “Infinity War.”