Aquaman scored the lowest domestic opening weekend for the DC Extended Universe, though that really isn't of much concern for Warner Bros. - considering how well the film has performed internationally. The franchise, which got off to an incredibly rocky start, hit its nadir last fall with Justice League. Despite being hyped as the long-awaited live-action debut for the superhero team, the film's poor reception and negative buzz doomed it commercially. Justice League earned only $229 million domestically and is considered a financial disappointment.
One year later, WB hoped to have a rebound with James Wan's Aquaman, which is Jason Momoa's solo debut (following two appearances in Batman V Superman and Justice League). Refreshingly making its way through production without any massive issues, the film arrived in theaters this past weekend with generally positive reviews under its belt. Even with a plethora of projects playing this week, it was expected the comic book adaptation would lead the pack. That's what happened, though there was definitely some cannibalization going on at the multiplex.
Per Box Office Mojo, Aquaman earned $67.4 million domestically during its first three days. Its U.S. total is now up to $72.1 million, following the nearly $3 million it grossed during special early screenings. While Aquaman secured the top spot at the box office by a considerable margin, this figure is still well below Justice League's $93.8 million. But things aren't as bad as that sounds.
Aquaman is already an international blockbuster thanks to dominating the overseas markets. It's up to a whopping $482.6 million worldwide, blasting past its production budget and break even point very early into its run. The film is WB's highest-grossing release of all-time in China, and it's now in a position where it can simply pad its totals until it bows out of theaters. As for why the U.S. debut might be a little underwhelming to some (the latest projections indicated it could get as high as $82 million this weekend), that can be attributed to how competitive this week was. Aquaman was going up against Mary Poppins Returns and Bumblebee, both of which took away some business. If Arthur Curry had the weekend to himself, then the numbers definitely would have been much higher.
Unfortunately, things aren't so rosy right now for Bumblebee, which came in third with $21 million. As expected, the Transformers spinoff ended up with the lowest opening weekend in the history of the franchise, trailing The Last Knight's $44.6 million. It obviously was not able to contend with Aquaman or Mary Poppins, despite having better reviews than both. If there's a silver lining for Paramount, it's that Bumblebee still has several openings around the world forthcoming (including China in January), so it may be able to turn things around and become a big hit. The word-of-mouth is there, so hopefully it can.
Source: Box Office Mojo
- Aquaman (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018
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- Joker (2019) release date: Oct 04, 2019
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- Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) release date: Jun 05, 2020