Leave a Comment
Aquaman easily topped the box office in its opening weekend. It's a big win all around. No "buts" about it. That said ... the sixth film in the DC Extended Universe posted the lowest domestic opening of the group. It doesn't really matter, since it's already killing overseas, and it's still expected to end its domestic (U.S./Canada) run in the $300 million range. But facts are facts, so let's review them.
For comparison, here are the domestic opening weekends for the DCEU lineup so far (listed in order of release, not adjusted for inflation):
• Man of Steel -- $116,619,362 -- June 14-16, 2013
• Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice -- $166,007,347 -- March 25-27, 2016
• Suicide Squad -- $133,682,248 -- August 5-7, 2016
• Wonder Woman -- $103,251,471 -- June 2-4, 2017
• Justice League -- $93,842,239 -- November 17-19, 2017
• Aquaman -- $67,400,000 -- December 21-23, 2018
With $67.4 million, Aquaman had the three-day domestic opening weekend that was expected from it -- over initial projections but under the lofty dreams of $100 million. The current domestic tally is actually $72.1 million, but that includes the $4.7 million from pre-weekend Amazon Prime showings. Aquaman is expected to gross around $105 million over the course of its first five days, ending on the very busy Christmas Day.
Those stats above are just opening weekend statistics for the domestic North American box office. Aquaman is really cleaning up overseas, with a current foreign tally of $410,700,000. So far, about $200 million of that is from China alone.
Aquaman may have had the sixth-largest debut of the DCEU so far, but its opening still ranks in the top 10 December openings of all-time.
So far, here's the (unadjusted for inflation) worldwide ranking for the DCEU, via Box Office Mojo. This list combines both domestic and foreign box office figures to date:
1. Batman v Superman: $873.6 million
2. Wonder Woman: $821.8 million
3. Suicide Squad: $746.8 million
4. Man of Steel: $668 million
5. Justice League: $657.9 million
6. Aquaman: $482.8 million
Aquaman is nowhere near done, of course, and if it does reach $300M domestic -- as Deadline speculates -- that would be on par with most its predecessors. That would also add at least another $200 million to the overall tally. At this point, the overall worldwide gross will probably land somewhere between $700M-$800M. Aquaman doesn't have to top the other DCEU films on any front, but a franchise always likes to see growth. Aquaman is definitely showing growth overseas, though, and that's a huge win.
It only took Aquaman two days to make more in China than Wonder Woman did in its entire run there. The Aquaman box office story is basically the opposite of Wonder Woman at this point.
Wonder Woman has the highest DCEU gross on the domestic front with $412.6M; however, it "only" made $409M at the foreign box office. Aquaman has already passed that foreign take with its own $410.7M so far. Compare that to the overall #1 at this point, BvS, which "only" made $330M domestic but picked up $543M at the foreign box office to get its massive worldwide total.
When it comes to audiences, Aquaman got an A- CinemaScore from moviegoers, which is just under Wonder Woman's A. Jason Momoa's first solo film also has the second-highest Rotten Tomatoes score, behind Gal Gadot's first solo movie. Aquaman reads like a win from both critics and audiences, and even if it doesn't post the biggest numbers, it's still a success. And it's also very likely leading to Aquaman 2, whether that is directed by James Wan or not.
DC/Warner Bros.'s next film on the schedule is Shazam! which opens April 5, 2019. That one seems like its own thing, but Zachary Levi discussed how it would connect to the larger DCEU. As cool as Shazam! looks, it has the misfortune of opening in arguably the single busiest blockbuster season in cinematic memory. Check out the insane schedule for 2019.