Aquaman director James Wan isn't too afraid of going against Mary Poppins Returns at the box office. Warner Bros. is hoping to bring the DCEU back in the good graces of many this year with Aquaman. The Jason Momoa solo movie has received positive early reactions, but isn't the only major release on the way.
One of these is Bumblebee, a reboot of the Transformers franchise that has proven to have a large following of its own. But, the film that may pose the largest threat at the box office is Disney's final 2018 release Mary Poppins Returns. The long-awaited sequel to Mary Poppins stars Emily Blunt, and boasts a strong cast around her and a heavy mixture of nostalgia and joy. Some early reactions even point to it being a possible awards contender in several major Academy Awards categories.
EW asked Wan about Aquaman going up against Mary Poppins Returns in their shared pre-Christmas release window. Wan understands the challenge and Aquaman's underdog positioning, but he still sees a roadmap to success. It isn't just wishful thinking on his part either, as last year showed how it can be done.
For sure, I think I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried. But generally around the holidays, there’s a lot to go around — which was pointed out to us when Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle opened on top of each other. You see how well Jumanji played.
Just like last year, Disney has positioned itself with one of the last major tentpole releases. Star Wars: The Last Jedi opened big and went on to make $1.3 billion worldwide, but the continued success of Dwayne Johnson's Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle was the bigger story. It didn't have the biggest opening, but audiences around the world wouldn't stop seeing the movie and gave it incredibly strong legs. For Wan, he may be prepared to not win the weekend, but it's more than possible that Aquaman can have repeat business into early 2019.
Wan's comparison can even go a step further to show how Bumblebee, Mary Poppins Returns, and Aquaman can all have their own success. Last December saw the release of The Last Jedi, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, and The Greatest Showman. These three movies collectively made over $2.5 billion in their box office runs, and each offered something slightly different than the other. Bumblebee is doing an early screening to generate more positive buzz ahead of time, and Aquaman is doing the same a few days later. No matter how the first weekend standings shake out, there's a good chance that all three of these major releases will due well. But, future box office projections for Aquaman should show how it will actually fair, and maybe it can actually come out on top after all.
- Aquaman (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018
- Mary Poppins Returns (2018) release date: Dec 19, 2018