It's a showdown! Transformers star Bumblebee vs. the musical, magical Mary Poppins Returns. Who will win the Christmas box office battle? Trick question, it's Aquaman. But who will take second place way behind the DCEU film? Well, that will be decided once the final numbers come in. As of now, it's neck-and-neck.
Aquaman officially opened Friday, and took in $28 million from 4,125 theaters, according to Box Office Mojo stats. That easily topped the other Friday releases, including Bumblebee's opening of $8,460,000. Mary Poppins Returns posted $6.7 million on Friday, playing in more theaters than Bumblebee, but since Poppins opened on Wednesday it has a head-start at the box office.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Mary Poppins Returns is looking at a five-day debut of around $30 million. Maybe a bit more. As the site pointed out, musicals don't always have big openings, but they often stretch out for long runs -- like The Greatest Showman this time last year.
Deadline speculated that Bumblebee will make around $22.7 million over its three-day opening, with Poppins earning about $21.7M from the three days. However, they said it was basically a coin-toss, adding that some box office prognosticators think Poppins will ultimately beat Bumblebee by something like $37M to $33M, despite Bumblebee picking up more money Friday night. And that's just up to Sunday, not even including into Christmas week, when a lot of families will have time off from school and work to head out to the movies.
It's funny, 'cause Aquaman director James Wan said he was nervous about competing against the films opening this month, including Mary Poppins Returns. But Aquaman is apparently running away with this weekend. The film has already hit some major milestones overseas.
Aquaman's domestic opening is projected to be north of $70 million. Those numbers will be confirmed or denied on Sunday. That would be better than the early estimates of $40-$60M, but not quite the lofty hopes of $100M.
Whatever the result, as THR noted, it'll be one of the best showings ever for the year-end holiday season outside of the Star Wars films. No Star Wars films this December, and still the year is breaking records at the box office!
All three major releases of this weekend -- Aquaman, Bumblebee, and Mary Poppins Returns -- received A- Cinemascores from polled moviegoers. When it comes to Rotten Tomatoes critics, Bumblebee has the clear edge with a current rating of 94%, with Mary Poppins Returns at 77% and Aquaman at 63%. What about the RT Audience scores? Well, as usual, fans felt a little bit differently: Bumblebee is at 81%, Aquaman is at 86%, and Mary Poppins Returns is at 70%.
Do you have a prediction for how the holiday box office battle will shake out? And how about extending past Christmas? It looks like Aquaman will be the clear winner, but will Bumblebee or Poppins pull ahead over Christmas Eve or Christmas Day ... or later in the week, when many kids are still out from school?
The 2018 movie schedule ends next weekend, but we have A LOT to look forward to in 2019.
Gina grew up in Massachusetts and California in her own version of The Parent Trap. She went to three different middle schools, four high schools, and three universities -- including half a year in Perth, Western Australia. She currently lives in a small town in Maine, the kind Stephen King regularly sets terrible things in, so this may be the last you hear from her.
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