In 1989, scientist Hank Pym resigns from S.H.I.E.L.D. after discovering their attempt to replicate his Ant-Man shrinking technology. Believing the technology is dangerous, Pym vows to hide it as long as he lives.
In the present day, Pym's estranged daughter, Hope van Dyne, and former protégé, Darren Cross, have forced him out of his company, Pym Technologies. Cross is close to perfecting a shrinking suit of his own, the Yellowjacket, which horrifies Pym.
Upon his release from prison, well-meaning thief Scott Lang moves in with his old cellmate, Luis. Lang visits his daughter Cassie unannounced and is chastised by his former wife Maggie and her police-detective fiancé, Paxton, for not providing child support. Unable to hold a job because of his criminal record, Lang agrees to join Luis' crew and commit a burglary. Lang breaks into a house and cracks its safe, but only finds what he believes to be an old motorcycle suit, which he takes home. After trying the suit on, Lang accidentally shrinks himself to the size of an insect. Terrified by the experience, he returns the suit to the house, but is arrested on the way out. Pym, the homeowner, visits Lang in jail and smuggles the suit into his cell to help him break out.
Pym, who manipulated Lang through an unknowing Luis into stealing the suit as a test, wants Lang to become the new Ant-Man to steal the Yellowjacket from Cross. Having been spying on Cross after discovering his intentions, van Dyne and Pym train Lang to fight and to control ants. While van Dyne harbors resentment towards Pym about her mother Janet's death, he reveals that Janet, known as the Wasp, disappeared into a subatomic quantum realm while disabling a Soviet nuclear missile. Pym warns Lang that he could suffer a similar fate if he overrides his suit's regulator. They send him to steal a device that will aid their heist from the Avengers' headquarters, where he briefly fights Sam Wilson.
Cross perfects the Yellowjacket and hosts an unveiling ceremony at Pym Technologies' headquarters. Lang, along with his crew and a swarm of flying ants, infiltrates the building during the event, sabotages the company's servers, and plants explosives. When he attempts to steal the Yellowjacket, he, along with Pym and Hope, are captured by Cross, who intends to sell both the Yellowjacket and Ant-Man suits to Hydra. Lang breaks free and he and Hope dispatch most of the Hydra agents, though one flees with a vial of Cross' particles and Pym is shot. Lang pursues Cross, while the explosives detonate, imploding the building as Pym and van Dyne escape.
Cross dons the Yellowjacket and attacks Lang before Lang is arrested by Paxton. Cross takes Cassie hostage to lure Lang into another fight. Lang overrides the regulator and shrinks to subatomic size to penetrate Cross' suit and sabotage it to shrink uncontrollably, killing Cross. Lang disappears into the quantum realm but manages to reverse the effects and returns to the macroscopic world. Out of gratitude for Lang's heroism, Paxton covers for Lang to keep him out of prison. Seeing that Lang survived and returned from the quantum realm, Pym wonders if his wife is alive as well. Later, Lang meets up with Luis, who tells him that Wilson is looking for him.
In a mid-credits scene, Pym shows van Dyne a new Wasp prototype suit and offers it to her. In a post-credits scene, Wilson and Steve Rogers have Bucky Barnes in their custody. Unable to contact Tony Stark because of "the accords", Wilson mentions that he knows someone who can help.Paul Rudd as Scott Lang / Ant-Man:
Evangeline Lilly as Hope van Dyne:
Corey Stoll as Darren Cross / Yellowjacket:
Bobby Cannavale as Paxton:
Michael Peña as Luis:
Tip "T.I." Harris as Dave:
Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson / Falcon:
Wood Harris as Gale: A police officer and Paxton's partner.
Judy Greer as Maggie: Lang's estranged former wife.
David Dastmalchian as Kurt:
Michael Douglas as Hank Pym:
Additionally, John Slattery and Hayley Atwell reprise their roles as Howard Stark and Peggy Carter, respectively, from previous MCU media. Slattery stated that his involvement in Ant-Man was "not that much more" than his participation in Iron Man 2, while Atwell described her appearance as being "more of a cameo". Abby Ryder Fortson portrays Cassie, the daughter of Lang and Maggie; Gregg Turkington appears as Dale, the manager of a Baskin-Robbins store; and Martin Donovan plays Mitchell Carson, a former member of S.H.I.E.L.D. who works for Hydra and looks to purchase the Yellowjacket technology. Garrett Morris, who portrayed Ant-Man in a Saturday Night Live sketch, appears as a taxi driver. Ant-Man co-creator Stan Lee makes a cameo appearance in the film as a bartender. Chris Evans and Sebastian Stan make uncredited appearances during the post-credits scene as Steve Rogers / Captain America and Bucky Barnes / Winter Soldier, respectively. Hayley Lovitt makes a nonspeaking cameo as Janet van Dyne / Wasp. Tom Kenny provides the voice of a toy rabbit that Scott gives to Cassie.
Development of an Ant-Man film began as early as the late 1980s, when Ant-Man co-creator Stan Lee pitched the idea to New World Pictures, Marvel Comics' parent company at the time. However, Walt Disney Pictures was developing a film based on a similar concept, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, and although Ant-Man went into development, nothing came to fruition.
In 2000, Howard Stern met with Marvel in an attempt to purchase the film rights to Ant-Man. In May of that year, Artisan Entertainment announced a deal with Marvel to coproduce, finance, and distribute a film based on Ant-Man. In 2003, Edgar Wright and his writing partner Joe Cornish wrote a treatment for Artisan, with Wright explaining that it revolved around Scott Lang as a burglar "so he could have gone slightly in the Elmore Leonard route", though Artisan wanted the film to be "like a family thing". However, Wright believed that the treatment was never sent to Marvel. A year later, the duo pitched the film to Marvel Studios' then head of production, Kevin Feige. In April 2006, Marvel Studios hired Wright to direct Ant-Man as part of the company's first slate of independently produced films, buoyed by a $525 million revolving film-financing facility. Wright also signed to co-write the screenplay with Cornish, based on a comic book series about an electronics expert who can shrink to the size of an insect and communicate with ants via telepathic/cybernetic helmet, and to co-produce the film with his Big Talk Productions partner, Nira Park.
At the 2006 San Diego Comic-Con International, Wright said he was intrigued by the story's high concept and character. Wright also stressed that the film would not be a spoof but an action-adventure with some comedic elements and would incorporate both the Hank Pym and Scott Lang incarnations of the character. Wright said that he was looking to "do a prologue where you see Pym as Ant-Man in action in the 60s, in sort of Tales to Astonish mode basically, and then the contemporary, sort of flash-forward, is Scott Lang's story, and how he comes to acquire the suit, how he crosses paths with Hank Pym, and then, in an interesting sort of Machiavellian way, teams up with him." The next February, Wright said that the project was in "a holding pattern" while the script was being revised, and that he had been doing research for the film by studying nanotechnology. In March 2008, Wright said that the first draft of the script had been completed and he was working on the second.
Stan Lee tweeted in February 2010 that Marvel was prepping the film and that he met with Wright for lunch to discuss the character. Wright noted that there was no timetable for the film because Marvel did not consider the character to be one of their bigger, tentpole properties, so "It's more like me and Kevin Feige saying...'Let's make a good script that works, that's all about a great genre film, and that isn't necessarily relying on anything else'". At the 2010 San Diego Comic-Con International, Wright said that Ant-Man would not fit in the chronology of The Avengers due to the origin story he had written not working in the MCU. In January 2011, Wright stated that he had resumed writing the script for the film following the conclusion of the international promotion for Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and by April he and Cornish delivered the second draft of Ant-Man to Marvel. At the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con International, Wright revealed a third draft had been handed in.
In May 2012, Feige said that the project was "as close as it's ever been" while Wright teased the film by tweeting a pictogram of Ant-Man. In June, Wright spent just under a week shooting footage for a reel that would be used to test out the potential look and tone of his movie, as well as to decide how convincing Ant-Man's powers look on screen. The test footage was screened to audiences during the Marvel Studios panel at the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con International, with Wright confirming that Ant-Man would be happening. Germain Lussier of /Film felt the footage worked and was "awesome", as "it had a totally different vibe from the other Marvel films. It was much more like something you'd recognize from Hot Fuzz." Lussier, along with Katy Rich of CinemaBlend, also enjoyed the costume design choice. That October, Disney scheduled the film for release on November 6, 2015.
Feige stated in January 2013 that Ant-Man would be part of Phase Three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and indicated in May that the screenplay needed to be modified in order to fit into the universe, as the project had been in development before the first Iron Man film. Feige also stated that shooting was slated to begin sometime in 2014, and that casting would begin towards the end of 2013. In July 2013, Wright said that he and Cornish had completed the script for the film and that Marvel allowed him to delay its production so that he could complete The World's End, as that film's producer Eric Fellner was diagnosed with cancer.
In August 2013, after Joss Whedon, director of Avengers: Age of Ultron, announced that Hank Pym would not be Ultron's creator, Wright said Ultron was never a part of the story of Ant-Man, explaining that "just to sort of set up what Ant-Man does is enough for one movie". Wright described Ant-Man as a stand-alone film but said it would fit into to the larger continuity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, explaining, "I like to make it standalone because I think the premise of it needs time. I want to put the crazy premise of it into a real world, which is why I think Iron Man really works because it's a relatively simple universe; it's relatable. I definitely want to go into finding a streamlined format where you use the origin format to introduce the main character and further adventures can bring other people into it." Wright also stated that pre-production for Ant-Man would begin in October and filming would begin in 2014. The next month, Disney moved the film's release date up to July 31, 2015.
In October 2013, Wright revealed that he was in Los Angeles to work on Ant-Man by tweeting a photograph from the production of the June 2012 test reel. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Paul Rudd were soon being considered for the lead role, though Gordon-Levitt dismissed his consideration as a rumor. Feige stated that Ant-Man would be a "heist movie", and that a casting announcement for Hank Pym would come before the end of 2013. The next month, Feige stated that Eric O'Grady's Ant-Man would not be featured in the film, while Rudd became the front-runner to play Hank Pym, and casting for the character's girlfriend had begun. Around that time, the filmmakers' intentions to shoot in the United Kingdom were dashed because of a lack of studio space, which Wright believed was due to the plan by Pinewood Shepperton to add fifteen studios to their facility, which was rejected in part by the local council in May 2013 because the project was eyeing protected land. By the end of the month, the film was scheduled to be shot in the U.S. instead.
In December 2013, Wright, a fan of the comic book since childhood—owning copies of Tales to Astonish #27 featuring "The Man in the Ant-Hill" storyline and Marvel Premiere #47 featuring the first appearance of Scott Lang— stated that the difference between Ant-Man and other films featuring size-changing is "other shrinking movies are usually about somebody trapped small. This is different in that he can actually change size and he can do that at will, so it becomes more of a power than an impediment." Wright also talked about the challenge of directing a superhero film, saying, "Shaun and Hot Fuzz and World's End are all R-rated films. I like the challenge of making a PG-13 film. Because you've got to entertain in a different way. You don't have the same tools." By December 19, Rudd was in negotiations to star in the film, and Marvel announced that he had been cast as Ant-Man the next day.
In January 2014, Wright posted a screenshot on his blog from the Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes episode "To Steal an Ant-Man", which features Hank Pym and introduces the Scott Lang character, with the caption "homework". Michael Douglas was subsequently cast as Pym, with Rudd confirmed to play Lang. Michael Peña was offered an unspecified role in the film, and filming was scheduled to take place at Pinewood Atlanta in Fayette County, Georgia, while Disney changed the release date once again, moving the film up to July 17, 2015. The next month, Evangeline Lilly entered early talks to portray the female lead, and Wright announced on his blog that Bill Pope, who he worked with on Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and The World's End, would be his director of photography. By March, Wright and Cornish turned in a fifth draft of the script, amid alleged disputes on the direction the script was taking. As well, Wright and Cornish wrote a scene intended for the post-credits of Avengers: Age of Ultron that would have acted as a prelude to the film. Corey Stoll entered negotiations for an undisclosed role in the film, and by April, Patrick Wilson and Matt Gerald were cast in undisclosed roles.
On May 23, 2014, Marvel and Wright jointly announced that Wright was leaving the project due to "differences in their vision of the film", and that the studio was closing in on a new director. On the split, Wright said, "I wanted to make a Marvel movie but I don’t think they really wanted to make an Edgar Wright movie." He also added that at one point, Marvel wanted to do a draft of the script without him, which was "a tough thing to move forward" as Wright has written all of the previous films he directed. Wright continued, "Suddenly becoming a director-for-hire on it, you’re sort of less emotionally invested and you start to wonder why you’re there, really." The majority of Wright's crew also left the project in the wake of his departure. By May 30, Adam McKay had entered negotiations to replace Wright, but pulled out of negotiations the next day. On June 7, Marvel announced that Peyton Reed would direct the film, with McKay contributing to the film's script. Other directors that had been under consideration include Ruben Fleischer, Rawson Marshall Thurber, Nicholas Stoller, Michael Dowse, and David Wain.
Later in June, Feige stated the film was still intended to be released on the July 17, 2015 date, with production slated to begin on August 18, 2014. Feige elaborated that "much of the movie will still be based very much on [Wright and Cornish's] draft and the DNA of what Edgar has created up to this point", with Reed stepping in to direct and McKay reworking only parts of the script. "[Reed] wanted to be sure that he wasn't just inheriting something or following someone else's lead. Or wasn't inheriting something that the evil studio had watered down to be something bad," Feige continued. "He looked at everything, he talked with us, and he said 'Number one, I agree with the direction you're going in. And number two, I can add to it.'"
McKay stated that Rudd helped him rewrite the script, calling Rudd "great with dialogue", adding "the two of us holed up in hotel rooms on the east and west coast, and I think it was like six to eight weeks we just ground it out and did a giant rewrite of the script. I was really proud of what we did, I really thought we put some amazing stuff in there and built on an already strong script from Edgar Wright and sort of just enhanced some stuff." Rudd elaborated, "The idea, the trajectory, the goal, and the blueprint of it all, is really Edgar and Joe. It's their story. We changed some scenes, we added new sequences, we changed some characters, we added new characters. If you took the two scripts and held them up together they'd be very different—but the idea is all theirs." Reed also offered contributions to the revised script, as did Lilly and Stoll, who contributed ideas to help flesh out their respective characters. Lilly's character received a fuller arc and more action sequences as a result. One of the important things when joining the film for Reed was emphasizing both Hope and Janet van Dyne more, given the Wasp being "a crucial part" of the Ant-Man comics. For their efforts, McKay and Rudd were credited as additional writers of the screenplay, with Wright and Cornish credited for the screenplay and story. Wright also held an executive producer credit on the film.
By the end of July, Wilson left the film because of scheduling conflicts brought on by the filming delay, and characters being played by Gerald and Kevin Weisman were cut in McKay's revised script. Also, Reed indicated that in addition to Georgia, filming would take place in San Francisco. The next month, Reed revealed that Scott Lang's daughter would appear in the film, and Gabriel Ferrari and Andrew Barrer were hired to make further revisions to the script. After reading the revised script, Evangeline Lilly felt that the film was "pulled" more into the MCU than Wright's version which "was much more in the Edgar Wright camp of films." She added that, while Wright's version was "incredible" and would have been great to film and watch, "it wouldn't have fit in the Marvel Universe. It would have stuck out like a sore thumb, no matter how good it was. It just would have taken you away from this cohesive universe they're trying to create. And therefore it ruins the suspended disbelief that they've built."
Arnim Zola from Captain America: The First Avenger and Captain America: The Winter Soldier was considered to make an appearance in the film, with concept art created depicting him in his robot body from the comics.
Principal photography began on August 18, 2014 in San Francisco, under the working title Bigfoot. Scenes were shot in the Tenderloin neighborhood and Buena Vista Park. By the end of September 2014, production on Ant-Man moved to Pinewood Atlanta Studios in Fayette County, Georgia, and David Callaham completed a rewrite of the film. Filming also took place at the State Archives building in Downtown Atlanta, to double as Pym Technologies, which is located on Treasure Island, San Francisco in the film. In October 2014, Martin Donovan was added to the cast, and Feige revealed that Ant-Man would no longer start Phase Three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and would instead be the final film of Phase Two. When told by /Film's Germain Lussier that this placement between Avengers: Age of Ultron and Captain America: Civil War made the film feel like an afterthought, Feige replied,
It's not [an after thought]. The truth is the phases mean a lot to me and some people but...Civil War is the start of Phase Three. It just is. And Ant-Man is a different kind of culmination of Phase Two because it very much is in the MCU. You meet new characters and you learn about Hank Pym and his lineage with the MCU over the years. But at the same time, it also picks up the thread of Age of Ultron in terms of heroes—major heroes, Avengers—coming from unexpected places... And in that way it connects a lot. Also, Hank Pym's attitude towards Avengers, towards S.H.I.E.L.D., and kind of the cinematic universe in general, is much more informed after the events of Age of Ultron, and in a certain way, before the events of Civil War.
Feige later expanded on this by saying, "[W]e put Ant-Man at the end of Phase Two as opposed to the beginning of Phase Three, because it sets up a lot of the things you're going to see heading into Phase Three, one of which is this mind-bending, reality-altering landscape [in Doctor Strange]." On December 5, 2014, Reed announced on social media that principal photography on Ant-Man had been completed.
For the film, cinematographer Russell Carpenter used a 1.85 aspect ratio shot with Arri Alexa XT and M cameras, using the M for fight sequences and helicopter filming. Camera operator Peter Rosenfeld said, "Russell and Peyton's decision to shoot in 1.85 was a good call, since at 2.35 there's insufficient height in frame to appreciate the vertical aspects of [Ant-Man] going from standing full-size to falling through a crack in the floor." Carpenter and Technicolor also devised a lookup table (LUT) to darken the color palette. Carpenter said, "For a lot of recent comedies I've kept my LUTs kind of 'Kodak' – saturated and upbeat. But this show needed something different that affected skin tones and the Ant-Man suit, which dates back to the 1980s, so it looks a little run-down. What I loved about this LUT was how it allowed the costume to retain the color but took it from fire-engine red to something a little more weathered."
The filmmakers made extensive use of macro photography. Production designer Shepherd Frankel said, "It's more visually interesting to depict things from Ant-Man's point of view instead of seeing him from a normal perspective. But we wanted a realistic realization, not Honey, I Shrunk the Kids with its oversized set pieces." Rebecca Baehler served as the director of macro photography, taking cues from Carpenter. Carpenter said vibration became "a tremendous problem" when moving the camera during the macro photography because "one inch off the ground is like fifteen feet in the air. From an ant's perspective, you move four inches, to a human perspective, that's a football field!" The solution required the filmmakers to search for a creative solution, so they turned to Baehler, who had a background in commercial "tabletop" photography. In order to add Rudd's performance as Ant-Man when in the macro world, a Centroid facial capture set up was used, with a five-camera array of Alexas surrounding Rudd. Rosenfeld explained, "One camera was set up vertically while the others were horizontal with overlapping image areas, all set to record at 48 frames per second. This maximized resolution and provided 3D modeling [of] Paul's performance." Reed would then call out story moments with Rudd performing "facial expressions that would later be composited on a CG Ant-Man."
Following the completion of principal photography, Marvel released an updated synopsis revealing that Jordi Mollà was included in the cast and the names of several supporting characters. However, Mollà subsequently did not appear in the theatrical release of the film. Reed explained that the film's original opening, which was filmed and cut in the editing process, featured a standalone sequence similar to the opening of a James Bond film, where an unseen Pym was attempting to retrieve some microfilm from Mollà's character, Castillo, a Panama army general. Reed stated the scene was going to show Ant-Man's powers, without seeing him, almost "like an Invisible Man sequence, and it's really, really cool. It started to feel tonally disconnected from the movie we were making and story-wise, and it also kind of like, it set a standalone adventure, but it didn’t just connect to the rest of our story...It felt like vestige of those earlier drafts [by Wright and Cornish], which as a standalone thing was really cool." Dan Lebental and Colby Parker, Jr. served as film editors. In March 2015, Hayley Atwell confirmed that she would reprise her role as Peggy Carter in the film. In April 2015, Reed stated that the film was not completed yet and would be undergoing "a little bit of additional" filming.
In June 2015, Feige confirmed that the character of Janet van Dyne would be seen, though the film would not address Pym and van Dyne's infamous domestic abuse storyline in the comics, saying, "We hint at a temper in a way that people who know the stories might go, 'Oh, perhaps that's a bit of [Hank's] character,' but not in a way that would ever indicate [he beat his wife]." Also in the month, Reed confirmed there would be a post-credit sequence "that may tie into the other films." Feige revealed the post-credit sequence was footage shot by Anthony and Joe Russo for Captain America: Civil War, saying the clip would be seen in that film, though it may be "different takes...different angles." On June 25, 2015, Reed announced on social media that production of Ant-Man was officially complete. In early July 2015, an international teaser trailer revealed that Anthony Mackie would appear in the film as Sam Wilson / Falcon. Mackie appears in the post-credit sequence as well, along with Chris Evans and Sebastian Stan as Steve Rogers / Captain America and Bucky Barnes / Winter Soldier, respectively. Stan stated the scene that was used for the post-credit sequence was shot in May 2015, and would appear in the middle of Civil War. Also in the month, Reed revealed that the quantum realm in the film was the MCU's version of the microverse, which could not be called that due to legal reasons. The alternate name was suggested by consultant Spiros Michalakis, a quantum physicist and staff researcher at the California Institute of Technology, to "inject elements of modern physics into the script". Reed also said that the end of the film originally had a sequence where Ant-Man went after Carson to retrieve the stolen vial of Cross' particles, "... But then for a couple reasons, it felt like maybe we should leave those particles out there." For the title sequences, Marvel again went with design firm Sarofsky, who had done the credits for both Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy, with the credits "intricately connected to the film's overall narrative."
Visual effects for the film were provided by Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), Lola VFX, Double Negative, Luma Pictures, and Method Studios, with previsualization by The Third Floor. Double Negative handled the scenes featuring shrunken characters, incorporating the macro photography and motion capture performances shot in principal photography with digital models of the characters. Double Negative also worked on Ant-Man's shrinking effect, in coordination with ILM to be used by all vendors, which showed the outline of his body – an element from the comics. Visual effects supervisor Alex Wuttke said, "It's like a little time echo. As Ant-Man shrinks in almost a stop motion way he would leave behind outlines of the poses he'd been in as he shrinks down... We'd have two CG cameras rendering the action from different points along the timeline with slightly different framings. One would be the main shot camera, the other would be a utility camera that would provide renders of static poses of Ant-Man at different points along the timeline."
For the flashbacks in 1989, Douglas and Donovan appeared de-aged via CGI, alongside Atwell as Carter (aged in makeup and with CGI) and John Slattery as Howard Stark. To de-age Douglas, Lola VFX used a similar process and technology that was used to make Steve Rogers skinny in Captain America: The First Avenger and Carter older in Captain America: The Winter Soldier as well as footage of Douglas' other films from the late 1980s as reference. Dax Griffin served as Douglas' body double and an additional reference for Lola, because of his "striking resemblance of Michael when he was about 40". For Donovan, he only needed to be de-aged about a decade, so no double was used. The work on him focused on his eyes, neck, and chin. Atwell wore a wig on set, along with a fine layer of latex makeup to give the skin a more leathery look, with Lola transposing the facial features of an elderly actress onto her face.
Method and Luma both worked on creating the various ants seen in the film, with Method creating the several species of ants, to share among the vendors. Luma also handled many of the scenes at Pym Technologies when Ant-Man attempts to acquire the Yellowjacket. ILM worked on the Falcon fight sequence, having done Falcon visual effects in The Winter Soldier. Using practical suit pieces built by Legacy Effects, ILM mixed live-action shots with digital take-overs and fully digital shots to create the sequence. ILM also handled the sequences in the quantum realm, providing an array of microscopic and largely psychedelic imagery for the subatomic shrinking, taking advantage of procedural fractal rendering techniques the studio had utilized on Lucy.
In February 2014, Wright tweeted that Steven Price would score the film. However, Price left soon after Wright's departure from the project in May 2014. In January 2015, Christophe Beck, who worked with Reed on Bring It On, was hired to replace Price. Describing the film's score, Beck said, "For Ant-Man, I wanted to write a score in the grand symphonic tradition of my favorite superhero movies, with a sweeping scope and a big, catchy main theme. What makes this score stand out among other Marvel movies, though, is a sneaky sense of fun since it is, after all, not only a superhero movie, but also a heist comedy." Hollywood Records released the soundtrack digitally on July 17, 2015, and had a physical release on August 7.
Ant-Man premiered at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on June 29, 2015, and opened the 2015 Fantasia International Film Festival on July 14, 2015, along with Miss Hokusai. The film was released in France on July 14, and was released in North America on July 17, in 3D and IMAX 3D. The film was released in the United States in 3,800 theaters, with the breakdown of 3,100 3D screens, 361 IMAX screens, 388 large format screens and 133 D-Box screens. Ant-Man had originally been scheduled for release on November 6, 2015. In September 2013, the release was moved to July 31, 2015, before changing for a final time to July 17, 2015 in January 2014. An unfinished version of the film was screened on June 24, 2015, at CineEurope.
In March 2014, ABC aired a one-hour television special, Marvel Studios: Assembling a Universe, which included a sneak peek of Ant-Man. In July 2014, Reed, Rudd, Douglas, Lilly, and Stoll appeared at Marvel Studios' panel at the 2014 San Diego Comic-Con International to help promote the film and screen a visual effects test featuring Rudd and Douglas. In October 2014, Marvel Comics' Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso stated there are comic tie-in plans for the film. In November 2014, ABC aired another one-hour television special titled, Marvel 75 Years: From Pulp to Pop!, which featured behind the scenes footage of Ant-Man. Marvel Comics' February 2015 solicitations released in December 2014, revealed a two-issue comic tie-in, Marvel's Ant-Man Prelude, following Hank Pym as Ant-Man on a mission during the Cold War. A second comic tie-in, Marvel's Ant-Man—Scott Lang: Small Time, was released digitally on March 3, 2015. It explains Lang's circumstances at the beginning of the film.
In January 2015, Disney officially began the film's marketing campaign by releasing a miniature "ant-sized" teaser trailer, a full-sized version of the same teaser trailer, a poster, a cover on Entertainment Weekly, and a full-length trailer during the premiere of the television series Agent Carter. Scott Mendelson of Forbes, said, "It was darn-clever for Disney to put out a miniature 'can't see anything without a microscope' version of the now-standard trailer for the trailer. I sighed just a little when they 'gave in' and released a human-sized version, realizing that Disney had just released what amounted to a teaser to a teaser to a trailer... But nonetheless, credit where credit is due, Disney was able to turn a single theatrical trailer into three separate news drops in about five days." Mendelson went on to say that "the peppy, witty trailer above is a general audience sell. Marvel knows the geeks will come if only to throw stones, but it's the mainstream audience that needs to be sold. So far, so good." However, Graeme McMillan of The Hollywood Reporter criticized the trailer for its placement during the broadcast premiere of Agent Carter, its tone, its soundtrack, and for being thematically similar to other trailers from Marvel Studios. McMillan concluded, "The Ant-Man trailer isn't bad, per se; it is, however, impressively underwhelming, which almost seems worse. Thanks to the last-minute exit of original writer-director Edgar Wright and the subsequent struggle to find a replacement, Ant-Man has become the movie that people are expecting to be Marvel's first failure, in critical if not financial terms, at least; this trailer, which fails to convince and gets by on goodwill for those involved and the Marvel brand as much as anything else, doesn't do enough — or anything, really — to persuade audiences that that's not the case." The trailer generated 29 million views worldwide in three days, the third-largest viewership for a Marvel Studios film, behind trailers for Iron Man 3 and Avengers: Age of Ultron.
In April 2015, Marvel debuted a second trailer for Ant-Man. Mendelson said it was "frankly the Ant-Man trailer that we've been waiting for. It's not just funny and exciting, it's an 'Ah ha!' moment when we realize just what exactly an Ant-Man movie has to offer." Also in April, miniature billboards promoting Ant-Man with battery-powered LED lights began appearing in Melbourne, Brisbane and other areas around Queensland, Australia as part of a street marketing campaign for the film. The next month, Marvel, in partnership with Dolby Laboratories, Visa, and Raspberry Pi, announced the "Ant-Man Micro-Tech Challenge", aimed at females aged 14 through 18, to create DIY projects involving micro technology and readily accessible and found materials. Winners teamed with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics education) programs in their areas to lead teams in recreating their projects. In June, Marvel released posters featuring Ant-Man juxtaposed with Iron Man's armor, Captain America's shield, and Thor's hammer Mjolnir. Mendelson compared this to Disney's marketing campaign for Lilo & Stitch that put the protagonist into iconic scenes from other Disney cartoons. A six-minute IMAX preview of the film began screeing before showings of Jurassic World, and scenes from the film were shown at Disney California Adventure's Bug's Life Theater in 3D with in-theater effects.
In early July 2015, Marvel began a viral marketing campaign featuring Leslie Bibb, reprising her role from the Iron Man films as journalist Christine Everhart, reporting for the faux news program WHIH Newsfront. In the program, Everhart discuses the fallout from the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron, Lang's imprisonment, and events leading to Captain America: Civil War. Also in July, Michael Douglas and executives from Marvel Entertainment rang the closing bell of the New York Stock Exchange in celebration of the release of Ant-Man. Disney spent $34.8 million on television advertising for the film, more than the $26.9 million spent for Avengers: Age of Ultron, since the former was a new property.
In December 2015, to commemorate the home media release of Ant-Man, Marvel UK launched a website that offers visitors a view of various London landmarks from the perspective of an ant in a Google Street View-type experience. The company commissioned photographer Will Pearson to capture ten different locations including Tower Bridge, Oxford Circus, the British Museum, St Paul's Cathedral and Nelson's Column using a 360° miniature camera that sat centimeters off of the ground.
Ant-Man was released for digital download by Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment on November 17, 2015 and released on Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, and DVD on December 8, 2015. The digital and Blu-ray releases include behind-the-scenes featurettes, audio commentary, deleted scenes, and a blooper reel. Upon its first week of release on home media in the U.S., the film debuted at number two on the Nielsen VideoScan First Alert chart, which tracks overall disc sales, as well as the dedicated Blu-ray Disc sales chart, with 63% of unit sales coming from Blu-ray.
The film was also collected in the 13-disc box set, titled "Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase Two Collection", which includes all of the Phase Two films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It was released on December 8, 2015.
Ant-Man grossed $180.2 million in North America and $339.1 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $519.3 million. Deadline.com calculated the net profit of the film to be $103.9 million, when factoring together "production budgets, P&A, talent participations and other costs, with box office grosses, and ancillary revenues from VOD to DVD and TV," placing it 14th on their list of 2015's "Most Valuable Blockbusters".
Ant-Man made $6.4 million from its Thursday night showings in North America, with 48% of tickets sales for IMAX and other large-format showings, and $23.4 million on its opening day, including Thursday's previews, making it the second-lowest opening day for a Marvel film, only ahead of 2008's The Incredible Hulk ($21.4 million). It fell 18% to earn $19.25 million on Saturday, and for its opening weekend total, earned $57.2 million. It marked the second-lowest debut for Marvel ahead of the $55.4 million debut of The Incredible Hulk in 2008. IMAX contributed $6.1 million to the opening gross, with premium large format screens comprising $6.4 million and Cinemark XD comprising $1.3 million, respectively. Though the film fell below its $60 million estimate, Disney nonetheless said it was content with the results, which continued Marvel's streak of number one opening films, giving the studio its twelfth consecutive win. Disney also reported that the film drew the largest share of families (28%) and women (32%) of any Marvel superhero title. It was also the biggest live-action opening ever for Rudd (breaking Knocked Up's record of $30.7 million) and a record opening for Douglas. It continued to be the top film at the box office in its second weekend.
Outside North America, it earned $55.4 million in its opening weekend from 37 countries, debuting in third place at the international box office behind the Chinese film Monster Hunt and Minions as well as an IMAX opening of $9.1 million. The top openings were the UK ($6 million), Mexico ($5.6 million), and Russia ($4.9 million). It had the biggest opening for a first-installment Marvel film in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand. The film's opening in South Korea in early September 2015 earned $9.3 million, the highest opening for an international market at the time, before being surpassed by the Chinese opening in mid-October 2015, which earned $42.4 million, with $5.1 million coming from IMAX. The large opening weekend in China helped Ant-Man place first at the international box office for the first time, with the Chinese opening the second largest for an MCU film in the country behind Avengers: Age of Ultron. The film stayed at number one in China for a second week, earning an additional $22 million. As of November 1, 2015, the largest markets are China with $101.3 million, followed by the UK with $25.4 million, and South Korea with $18.9 million.
The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported an 81% approval rating, based on 276 reviews, with an average rating of 6.8/10. The website's consensus reads, "Led by a charming performance from Paul Rudd, Ant-Man offers Marvel thrills on an appropriately smaller scale – albeit not as smoothly as its most successful predecessors." On Metacritic, the film has an average score of 64 out of 100, based on 43 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". CinemaScore reported that audiences gave the film an "A" grade on an A+ to F scale.
Justin Chang of Variety said the film "succeeds well enough as a genial diversion and sometimes a delightful one, predicated on the rarely heeded Hollywood wisdom that less really can be more." Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter remarked, "Although the story dynamics are fundamentally silly and the family stuff, with its parallel father-daughter melodrama, is elemental button-pushing, a good cast led by a winning Paul Rudd puts the nonsense over in reasonably disarming fashion." Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times wrote, "Playful in unexpected ways and graced with a genuinely off-center sense of humor, Ant-Man (engagingly directed by Peyton Reed) is light on its feet the way the standard-issue Marvel behemoths never are." Kim Newman of Empire wrote that it "straddles as many genres as the Avengers films have characters but manages to do most of them pretty well. Extremely likable, with a few moments of proper wonder." A. O. Scott of The New York Times said, "This film is a passable piece of drone work from the ever-expanding Marvel-Disney colony."
Conversely, Alonso Duralde of TheWrap said the film "serves up jokes that don't land and thrills that don't thrill." Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times said Ant-Man "is a lightweight, cliché-riddled origins story that veers between inside-joke comedy, ponderous redemption story lines and admittedly nifty CGI sequences that still seem relatively insignificant compared to the high stakes and city-shattering destruction that take place in most of the Avengers movies." Catherine Shoard of The Guardian wrote, "Ant-Man is a cut-and-shut muddle, haunted by [Edgar Wright's] ghost, produced by a high-end hot dog factory, by turns giddying and stupefying." Joe Morgenstern of The Wall Street Journal said that it is "a film that will surely be popular, given Marvel's marketing might, but one that's woefully short on coherence and originality." Christopher Orr of The Atlantic said, "It's difficult to shake the sense that the film was assembled hurriedly and somewhat haphazardly. Which, from all available evidence, is exactly what happened."
A sequel, Ant-Man and the Wasp is scheduled to be release on July 6, 2018, with Reed once again returning as director. Production writers Barrer and Ferrari also return to write the screenplay with Rudd, Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers. Rudd, Lilly, Cannavale, Peña, Harris, Greer, Dastmalchian, Fortson and Douglas all reprise their roles from Ant-Man, and are joined by Michelle Pfeiffer, Laurence Fishburne, Hannah John-Kamen, Randall Park and Walton Goggins as Janet van Dyne, Bill Foster, Ghost, Jimmy Woo, and Sonny Burch, respectively.