Warner Bros. will open their newest DC Comics standalone movie Aquaman in China two weeks before it releases in the United States. After debuting the character in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, and then playing him in a larger role in Justice League, Jason Momoa gets to fully showcase his take on Arthur Curry in a solo film directed by James Wan.
Thanks to the massive marketing blitz for the movie, fans have already gotten a thorough look at Momoa and Wan's version of Aquaman, the comic book character first introduced way back in 1941. In this version, Arthur Curry learns that he is the heir to the throne of Atlantis, and must overcome his reluctance in order to step forward and lead his people. Amber Heard co-stars as Mera, who joins Curry on a quest to find Neptune's trident so that they may do battle with Curry's own half-brother Orm (Patrick Wilson). Comic book villain Black Manta also gets in on the action, as he seeks revenge against Aquaman for a past wrong.
Related: Aquaman Extended Trailer Breakdown
While American audiences have to wait until Dec. 21 to see all of what Aquaman has to offer, Deadline reports that fans in China will get to see the movie two weeks earlier after Warner Bros. set a release date there of Dec. 7. Aquaman's general overseas rollout will begin one week after the Chinese release. Additionally, it's reported that Crazy Rich Asians, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald, The Nutcracker and The Four Realms, Ralph Breaks The Internet and Venom have also now received release dates in China as American movies scramble to grab those dates ahead of the country's December blackout.
Warner Bros. will no doubt be watching the numbers from China very closely as the company rolls out Aquaman, their sole DCEU release of the year. China indeed proved very friendly to the DCEU last year when Justice League opened to huge business in the country, helping offset the film's lackluster domestic performance (Justice League incidentally also opened in China two weeks before coming out in the U.S.). A lot is riding on Aquaman as WB makes decisions on the DCEU going forward. As of now, further team-up movies like Justice League appear to be on the back-burner as the studio prioritizes standalone films like next year's Shazam! and Wonder Woman 1984. Of course, the Batman universe will continue to be big with both Birds of Prey and Joker in the pipeline.
The Chinese market may not be as all-important as some make it out to be, but nevertheless, it remains a major factor as evidenced by the box office returns for Hollywood films there in 2018. This year's biggest Hollywood hit in China unsurprisingly was Avengers: Infinity War, which took in $359 million in the market. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom ($261 million), Ready Player One ($218 million) and Mission: Impossible - Fallout ($181 million) also made huge bank in China on the way to impressive overseas box office totals. Warner Bros. hopes Aquaman will follow in the footsteps of the above listed and receive a huge boost from Chinese movie fans.
- Aquaman (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018
- 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
- Shazam! (2019) release date: Apr 05, 2019