Update: From the beginning of writing this story until today, Ant-Man 3's box office has fizzled out at an unimpressive $474 million dollars. With strong box office contenders like The Super Mario Bros. Movie, AIR, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, and John Wick 4, Marvel's chances for any profit from this film are dead in the ground. Not only did Ant-Man 3 underperform, it performed lower than pandemic era releases like Shang-Chi and Black Widow. Some could speculate that this was in part due to the lack of returning supporting cast or, perhaps, super fatigue is among us. Either way, topping out under 500 puts this film at a project $100 million dollar loss for Marvel.
My take? Audience just aren't that interested in the multi-verse for two main reasons. One, it makes everything feel temporary. One of Marvel's biggest issues is its inability to commit. In the realm of the fantastic (and with enough fandom demand) you could bring anyone back from the dead, make anyone have a happy ending, and churn out one dimensional villains who do nothing more than sell funko pop figures. The other, audiences don't want to do homework. The multi-verse is not only confusing but feels like a massive commitment. In order to understand what is happening in Phase 5, you need to keep up with both the theatrical releases as well as the Diseny+ series releases. In order to understand Quantumania you have had to have watched Loki. In order to understand The Marvel's, which is due out in November, you'll have needed to have seen Captain Marvel, Ms. Marvel, WandaVision, and Secret Invasion. Some of the films have chosen to not acknowledge the multi-verse at all like Thor: Love and Thunder and Guardians of the Galaxy 3 (according to James Gunn). Marvel has swung too wide, the stories are spiraling out and after 31 films, audiences seem to have had it.