The following contains minor spoilers for Aquaman.
Aquaman is a hit movie overseas and at home. The film has already grossed over $800 million around the world, which shows that the film is the sort of product that can cross cultural boundaries and appeal to different people all over the world. Of course, that doesn't mean that it's exactly the same things about Aquaman that are appealing to everybody. Director James Wan recently learned that what China loves the most isn't one of the great action set pieces, it's when Amber Heard eats a flower. According to Wan...
The scene in question takes place about midway through the movie. Arthur Curry and Mera are traveling together on the surface and Mera has become the fish out of water. She sees some people eating food around her when Arthur offers her a bouquet of flowers as a gift. She makes the connection they must be food and eats one. He doesn't want to make her feel embarrassed, so he follows suit and does the same.
It's not entirely clear why China apparently loves this scene. Wan tells THR that Warner Bros. informed him it was the most popular across the nation. It's a funny scene to be sure, it's also quite sweet in the way Arthur Curry goes the extra mile to make Mera feel at home, but it's still somewhat surprising that it's apparently the most popular moment in a movie that includes some impressive visual effects and numerous action sequences. Apparently, there was no need to spend so much money on digital effects to impress China. Just have an actress eat flowers.
Whatever the reason, it has resulted in Aquaman grossing over $260 million in China, making it the third highest grossing Hollywood movie in the country in 2018. It's just barely behind Venom, close enough it will likely overtake the film in the new year, and a little less than $100 million behind Avengers: Infinity War.
Certainly, this doesn't mean that China doesn't enjoy the impressive visual effects and the exciting action, but it does show that different aspects of any given movie are going to appeal to cultures differently. Even if we were exclusively looking at the funny moments of Aquaman, I'm not sure most in the west would rank Mera's flower eating as the best.
Whether you love the action or the humor, it's clear that pretty much everybody loves Aquaman to one degree or another. Of the three potential blockbusters that all came out around Christmas, it has kept it's lead over both Mary Poppins Returns and Bumblebee, though neither of those films has had any particular problem making money, especially overseas.
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