This weekend, Disney and Marvel Studios face a big challenge with a pint-sized property.
The duo will expand Marvel's shared cinematic universe with "Ant-Man," the story of a reformed crook whose supersuit allows him to shrink, enhances his strength and lets him communicate with insects.
Based on one of Marvel's more obscure properties, "Ant-Man" may serve as a bellwether for the company's future. Many of its most popular characters have already made it to the big screen, and Marvel will rely on lesser-known superheroes in upcoming films.
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Analysts told CNBC it's unfair to judge the film against Marvel's blockbuster "Avengers" films, but it would also be unwise to give it short shrift. After all, "Guardians of the Galaxy" became the highest-grossing superhero movie of 2014, proving little-known properties can overcome obscurity with the right mix of talent, story and comedy.
"You just never underestimate Marvel, no matter what the property is," said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Rentrak.