Aquaman is getting an extended release over in China. The DCEU franchise has experienced mixed fortunes in its lifespan, with Wonder Woman proving both critically and commercially successful, Suicide Squad raking in cash but taking a battering in reviews and Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice disappointing across the board. As such, no one was completely sure what to expect from James Wan's Aquaman, especially after the character received a lukewarm reception following his franchise debut in last year's Justice League.
However, the story of Arthur Curry has been going down relatively well thus far. After early reaction proved mostly positive, Aquaman has looked on course to be a box office success, at least internationally. In the United States, Aquaman posted the lowest opening weekend for a DCEU movie but is currently on track to earn $1 billion worldwide, outgrossing both Man Of Steel and Wonder Woman. Jason Momoa's amphibious superhero has enjoyed particular success in China, where the film has become Warner Bros. highest grossing release of all time.
Due to this phenomenal response, Aquaman has been granted an extra month of screenings in China, according to Variety, playing through until February 6th. Aquaman was released in China on December 7th and has thus far grossed around £250 million in the country. This extension is significant as foreign releases are usually only granted a 30 day period of screenings in China, however as proven with Venom earlier this year, movies that are financially prosperous can be given an extension.
Aquaman being classed as successful enough in China to warrant an extended release is perhaps testament to how positively worldwide audiences have responded to the film. As previously mentioned, the DCEU is a franchise of wildly varying fortunes and although Aquaman hasn't been received quite as well at home, Warner Bros. will be delighted at how the movie is going down abroad.
This news also acts as yet another example of the growing influence of the Chinese box office. In recent years, Hollywood studios have become more and more aware of how much profit there is to be made from the Chinese market and certain films have been specifically geared or altered for the audience in China. As demonstrated with Aquaman, success in China can also compensate for a modest domestic showing and turn a decent-grossing movie into a sizeable success.
Quite where Aquaman's success leaves the DCEU is anybody's guess. A few months ago, it looked as if Warner Bros. would be winding down the franchise and putting more focus on standalone features such as Joaquin Phoenix's Joker. However, Aquaman's fortunes have revived the series somewhat and with Wonder Woman 1984 just around the corner, the future is looking much brighter for the DCEU than it was at the start of the year.
- Aquaman (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018
- Shazam! (2019) release date: Apr 05, 2019
- Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) release date: Jun 05, 2020
- Joker (2019) release date: Oct 04, 2019
- Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) (2020) release date: Feb 07, 2020