The DC live-action universe has had a fascinating tenure in theaters, full of peaks and valleys. Starting with Zack Snyder's Man of Steel, the shared universe has suffered from quite a few critically panned projects, with Justice League failing to deliver at the box office. As such, all eyes were on what director James Wan would do with Aquaman.
Luckily, Aquaman is the success story the DCEU needed. It fared well with critics, and the aquatic blockbuster has been making a ton of money at the box office-- both domestically and in international markets. Aquaman is nearing the $1 billion mark for its profits, which could put James Wan in an exclusive club of multi-billion project directors.
A movie earning over $1 billion at the box office is no easy task (Aquaman would be the 37th ever), and there's only a handful of projects that have fared that well. James Wan actually achieved this for the first time with Furious 7-- one of the most successful installments in the iconic franchise. Aquaman may mark the second time he'll hit this milestone, making Wan one of few directors to accomplish this task twice.
According to Forbes, this upcoming milestone has only been shared by a handful of directors in the past, and most of them for multiple entires into the same franchise. Christopher Nolan achieved this with two of his Dark Knight movies, Michael Bay directed two $1 billion Transformers installments, and Joss Whedon helmed both The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron. Meanwhile, other filmmakers achieved this by crafting spinoffs from their successful franchises, like Peter Jackson did with The Hobbit after Lord of the Rings, or how Pierre Coffin spun the Despicable Me franchise off to focus on the minions.
But James Wan's upcoming honor is unique, as the director's two (possbile) $1 billion projects are disconnected from each other. James Cameron also did that, breaching the milestone with Titanic and Avatar. Of course, those movies help to define the film industry at the time, so Wan had worse odds. Add in the uneasy state of the DCEU and Aquaman's previously laughable reputation among comic book fans, and his possible victory is all the more impressive.
Of course, it's important to note that this conversation is hypothetical at the moment, as James Wan's Aquaman hasn't actually made $1 billion yet. Then again, we may be days away from that moment. At the time of writing, Box Office Mojo reports Aquaman at a whopping $943,224,16-- continuing to dominate the box office weeks after its holiday release. Audiences love diving into the waters of Wan's DC blockbuster, giving DC is its first major win since Patty Jenkins' Wonder Woman in 2017.
Aquaman is currently in theaters now, so you can personally help the movie get to $1 billion, and let James Wan into the prestigious double billion club. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your trips to the movies.
Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his famous actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.
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