Aquaman doesn't open in the U.S. until December 21, but it opened December 7 in China. So far, it has picked up $93.6 million. Obviously it's not going to stop there, but that's already enough to pass the $93 million total Wonder Woman made in China.
This is not to overly single out Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman, which made $821.8M worldwide in almost equal amounts from the domestic and foreign box offices. That was a huge win for DC. But this is another sign of how powerful the Chinese market is, if you happen to give them a title they like. And they clearly like the new superheroes on the market. Venom has famously won China over (while Crazy Rich Asians has not), and it's clear they're going hard for "my man" Jason Momoa.
As Variety noted, the $93.6 million Aquaman just made was the best start for any WB/DC superhero film in China. It passed Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice's $55.7 million opening in China, plus Justice League'_s $50.5 million, and _Wonder Woman's $37.6 million. Aquaman made his debut in Justice League, which saw the return of Wonder Woman. Now he's branching off with his first solo film, as her second film prepares for its 2020 release.
Aquaman is opening in 40 more markets overseas next weekend before we get it on the domestic front. The film already screened for critics and some lucky fans, and so far the response has been very positive. That's not necessarily a factor in China loving it, 'cause it was not quite the case with Venom -- which got lukewarm reviews and an OK response from the domestic box office but keeps crushing in China.
It may have helped that Aquaman had a big premiere in Beijing. Also, director James Wan is of Malaysian Chinese descent. But it's most likely that the people of China are just into what they're into, like everyone, and they just happen to be the second biggest box office in the world right now.
The Chinese market is of increasing importance, and openings like this show why. Now we just have to compare these numbers to the rest of the world, especially the still vital North American box office. It's certainly a great start, though, and WB/DC must be thrilled.
Since Aquaman is already doing well, at least in China, perhaps it really will help Amber Heard get her Mera/Wonder Woman spinoff off the ground. Then maybe Wonder Woman could get in on the love from China.