Aquaman – the latest film in Warner Bros.’ DCEU franchise – continues to make bank worldwide, crossing the $500 million mark at the box office. After the critical and commercial disaster that was Justice League, DC Films was badly in need of a win. Unlike Marvel Studios, which released three new MCU films in 2018, DC took nearly the entire year off. Thankfully, director James Wan’s Aquaman movie seems to have given the DCEU the win it so sorely needed, and hopefully gotten the franchise back headed in the right direction.
While Aquaman’s critical fortunes didn’t end up as positive as it first appeared they would – the film first settled in the mid-70s on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, before subsequently falling to the mid-60s – the 82 percent audience score for Arthur Curry’s adventure is much more telling. Moviegoers are having a lot of fun with Aquaman, and while it earned the lowest domestic opening weekend total in DCEU history with $67.4 million, that was still more than enough to take the top spot stateside. Where Aquaman is really impressing though is with its overseas grosses, a measure in which the film has already passed both Wonder Woman and Man of Steel.
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As reported by THR, Aquaman earned an additional $11.2 million domestically on Christmas Eve, giving the Jason Momoa-fronted blockbuster the final push it needed to cross the $500 million mark worldwide. Despite Aquaman just releasing this weekend in the U.S., the film has received a staggered international release over the last few weeks, and the strategy has paid off in a major way. Aquaman now sits at an about $80 million domestic haul, plus over $420 million from foreign markets.
While the DCEU’s future plans remain mostly unclear – for example, whether or not Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill will ever return to their respective roles of Batman and Superman still hasn’t been officially addressed – it’s hard to imagine Aquaman not getting a sequel at this point. It’s long since passed the threshold it needed to cross to become profitable, and topping the worldwide total grosses of Justice League and Man of Steel seems highly probable. It’s a bit less likely Aquaman will swim past Suicide Squad on the DCEU worldwide chart, but certainly not impossible if the film’s current momentum holds.
Aquaman looks set to firmly establish star Momoa as an A-lister, and luckily for Warner Bros., the actor is already under contract for another DCEU movie. One person not under contract for a sequel is director Wan, who recently hinted that he wasn’t sure if he even wanted to make another superhero movie so quickly after Aquaman, and might instead opt to do something else. For DC’s sake though, hopefully he’ll sign on, as after so many years being made fun of, Wan and Momoa have officially made Aquaman cool.
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