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February 16, 2023

Disney Marvel's Ant-Man is Antifa-Man?
And Is Disney Marvel Releasing Another Box-Office Turd?

Before that, an update on the Norman Peltz proxy fight to join Disney's board: He's ended that effort. I think that was why, when I posted on this last week, the website promoting the proxy fight was down.

He gave up the proxy fight because Bob Iger surrendered and agreed to all of his demands. Laying off 7,000 employees, cutting three billion (with a B) from Disney's budget for producing content, restoring the dividend Disney used to pay out to shareholders... Peltz wanted Disney to stop spending like a drunken sailor and start paying out dividends again, instead of hoarding its cash to buy more studios, and Iger gave him that.

So Peltz dropped his demand to join the board.

I would have strongly preferred if Peltz had continued to fight -- Iger cannot be trusted and is a Woke lunatic -- but, whatever.

Speaking of Iger being a Woke Lunatic: Apparently Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is loaded with pro-antifa and pro-socialist messaging.

Right-leaning observers on YouTube such as Midnight's Edge and Overlord DVD and Chris Gore are starting to smell another box office disappointment. Quantumania earlier was projected to bring in $280 million worldwide in its five-day opening weekend. That includes the typical Thursday night release for blockbusters, plus Monday for Presidents Day.

Wait, there's a holiday this Monday? So long, suckers!

Those projections have now been lowered to $255 million.

Disney Marvel keeps seeing these projections go down further and further as the release date approaches.

Box office projections for Marvel's Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania have been lowered heading into its opening weekend. Domestically, the superhero threequel is expected to make between $95 million and $100 million in its first three days, according to Variety, with the number increasing to $110 million across the four-day extended President's Day weekend. A couple of weeks ago, the film was tracking for a $120 million debut.

Nevertheless, Ant-Man 3 is pacing ahead of both its predecessors, although it's falling well short of the super-sized box office hauls some of the more illustrious Marvel Cinematic Universe projects tend to deliver. By comparison, the first Ant-Man film made a solid (if not spectacular) $57 million in its domestic opening weekend back in 2015. Its 2018 sequel, Ant-Man and the Wasp, delivered a $76 million debut. For further context, the most recent MCU releases have all comfortably cleared three-digits in their opening weekends -- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness delivered a $185 million debut, Thor: Love and Thunder made $144 million, while Black Panther: Wakanda Forever did $181 million.

Ant-Man 3 also happens to be only the second MCU film since 2019's Avengers: Endgame to score a China release. Of course, China's contribution to overall numbers has greatly shrunk post-pandemic -- the Middle Kingdom barely allows imports at all anymore -- but a projected opening between $35 million and $55 million will play a key role in the film clearing the $160 million overseas estimates that it is currently aiming for. This number could eventually fall anywhere between $130 million and $190 million. All in all, Ant-Man 3 is currently estimated to deliver a $255 million global opening.

Critics used to pan science-fiction and especially superhero movies -- that is, until Disney went full woke and started injecting Current Year Identity Politics into Star Wars and Marvel movies. Then they began loving Disney Star Wars and Disney Marvel.

But even the Woke Critics are sour on this movie: It manages only a 50% "fresh" rating, meaning it's officially rotten.

You might wonder if woke critics are down it because it's not woke enough. According to Chris Gore and the guys from Midnight's Edge, no, it's woke. Not as obnoxiously, in-your-face woke as some of Marvel's recent turds, but still woke.

First of all, Ant-Man is once again not the star of his own movie. Ant-Man became the comedic sidekick to a Stronk Empowered Wasp in the last film, and in this one, he's second fiddle to the real star, who is also a Stronk Empowered Woman. Critics seems split, though, on which Stronk Empowered Woman is the real star -- Janet Van Dyne (the original Wasp, played by Michelle Pfeiffer) or Ant-Man's teenaged daughter.

But they do agree: He's a co-star in his own movie once again.

But the real wokeness, they say, is in the movie's pro-antifa and pro-socialist messaging.

Among the bits of woke messaging:

Ant-Man's daughter Cassie is part of a protest group with similarities to antifa. Reportedly, it's a "homelessness rights" protest group, but it's said that the group was "peacefully protesting" before being dispersed and menaced by cops.

In the Quantum Realm itself, there are lots of human beings, for some reason. And they have formed a "resistance" against the rulership of Black Trump, I mean Kang the Conqueror, and are heard to yell "Burn it all down."

Finally, Hank Pym, who'd you'd guess is more conservative and also more capitalistic, observes the cooperation of ants, all taking orders from their unquestioned queen and acting as the organic robots in a hive-mind, and says something like, "No one wants to say it, but socialism works!"

See, the ants who are all just cogs in a great Social Machine directed by an elite are proof that socialism works.

Gee, I wonder why China permitted this movie of all movies to play there...?

The reactions I've heard from different right-leaning reviewers are, basically, this is better than Phase 4 Marvel movies except for the only good one, Spider-Man: No Way Home. And they point out, being better than The Eternals and Thor: Love and Thunder is not a high bar to cross.

The other complaints are: Marvel has once again turned a possibly-interesting movie into rubbish by sticking all of their "stupid jokes" into inappropriate places, because no Marvel movie can go three minutes without a, as Andrej from Midnight's Edge says in his Norwegian accent, "another asshole joke." He means a joke written by an asshole, not about an actual asshole.

The Quantum Realm is a computer-rendered non-place entirely unlike earth, which makes it hard to "connect" with it at all, or feel that it's a real place that "you can touch," as Chris Gore's partner Alan said.

Also, a lot of people seem to agree that this is yet another Marvel CGI shitshow, with 95% of the movie taking place in this completely CGI generated world. And some reviewers (not even those on the left) say that Marvel's abusive treatment of CGI artists has resulted in a movie with, yet again, some distractingly bad CGI.

If you liked Michael Pena's role as the logarrhea-afflicted ex-con Luis, too bad, because he can't shrink and so doesn't appear in the movie at all. None of the X-Cons appear. I think Chris Gore suggested that Pena could have at least been hired to provide the opening narration which catches people up on what Ant-Man's been doing since Endgame, and that's a fantastic idea because no one tells a story like Luis, but no, that narration is voiced by Paul Rudd.

They also say that the villain Modok is wasted and is a pretty minor mook and a joke of one, and that even Kang, who is supposed to be the Thanos of Phase 5 and 6, comes off as unthreatening.

I don't want to spoil a superhero movie, but Kang is temporarily defeated in this movie. Which means the Thanos-level threat of the next two phases begins his career... with a loss, to little comedic-sidekick barely-a-superhero Ant-Man.

That kind of makes Kang the Conqueror seem like he's not so threatening at all.

More like Kang the Conquered amirite?

The prediction I've heard for box office is the typical solid-but-not-quite-up-to-expectations opening that all Marvel movies (except Spider-Man, which is a Sony co-production) are experiencing lately, with a big drop-off in ticket sales as word of mouth gets out.

I really liked the first Ant-Man and while the second was an absolute null storywise -- it was just Ant-Man and his allies trading possession of a piece of rolling luggage with some human punching bags for two hours -- it did have the wildest shrinking/growing set-pieces. It's a real shame that almost all of these nifty shrinking/growing gags were totally given away and spoiled in the trailers.

This one seems like another miss, and partly made worse by eleventh hour reshoots, which the Midnight's Edge guys seem to think were 1, ordered by the returning Bob Iger, and 2, ordered to fill the movie up with more "asshole jokes" because, again, Marvel doesn't even pretend to make real movies any more, they're just woke sitcoms in between CGI punch-ups that carry no weight because everyone now knows that nothing means anything in the Marvel Universe.

Did Bog Iger also demand the inclusion of praise for the Chinese system of authoritarian socialism just to get the movie screened there? I don't know, but it feels like a Bob Iger thing to do.

It's rumored that Bob Iger called Kevin Feige into his office to tell that he has to mix some actual entertainment in with the woke messaging. Now, the praise for the authoritarian socialism of ants -- "socialism works!" -- is of course woke messaging, but if it was added to get the movie screened in China, that would suggest Bob Iger has realized that woke messaging is bad for business, making the China opening all the more critical.

I hope it fails.


A recent South Park made it official: Wokeness is killing Hollywood.

The set-up is that kids in the school hear that the Jews control Hollywood. This leads them to believing something even more incredible: That the specific Jew who controls Hollywood is the fourth-grade student Kyle Bronflowsky.

Randy Marsh also comes to believe that the fourth-grader Kyle Bronflowsky runs Hollywood -- I guess he heard it from the other fourth-graders -- and so goes to Kyle's dad to tell him to get Kyle to stop with all the woke crap already.

"You know wokeness ruined the MCU, don't you?" he says.

When South Park says it, that means that everyone is now thinking the same thing.

If Cartman had said that, people could say, "Well Cartman is a racist junior member of QAnon, that doesn't mean the writers think it's true."

But Cartman isn't saying this. Stan's dad is saying this. And while Stan's dad is an idiot like most of the characters on South Park, he's not Right-Wing Racist or anything.

Kyle, please tell Bog Iger and Kevin Feige to stop ruining Marvel.

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posted by Ace at 04:22 PM

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