Aquaman is now Warner Bros.’ highest-grossing film of all-time in China. In its earliest days, the DC Extended Universe achieved commercial success, despite many of its installments receiving mixed-to-negative reviews from fans and critics. It was unfortunate that the property’s most important entry, Justice League, was a failure across the board, as its negative buzz led to it becoming the lowest-grossing DCEU film to date. In the wake of that disappointing turn of events, WB opted to formulate a new game plan moving forward, while hoping the projects coming through the pipeline could help the brand rebound.
More than a year after Justice League’s premiere, Aquaman arrived in theaters, shining a spotlight on Jason Momoa’s fan-favorite version of Arthur Curry. In the months leading up to the film’s release, it looked like James Wan’s directorial effort would indeed be the bounce back vehicle the DCEU desperately needed. Aquaman received generally positive reviews, with many critics hailing it as a fun throwback adventure that harkened back to the classic blockbusters of the 1980s. That reception could only help the movie’s commercial prospects, and now it’s already broken a box office record.
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According to a press release from WB, Aquaman is now at $209.5 million in China, a new all-time mark for the studio in that country. The superhero film is already up to a whopping $332.1 million internationally, far surpassing its $160 million production budget even before the first domestic numbers came in.
This means Aquaman is well on its way to turning a sizable profit. Going by the general rule of thumb, it needed to earn approximately $320 million globally to break even, and it’s $12.1 million past that figure now. It’s expected to earn about $120 million in North America during the extended Christmas weekend, so there’s no denying it’s in great shape at this stage in its run. There was a point in time when Aquaman’s box office projections were somewhat bleak, with estimates between $40-60 million domestically for its opening weekend. Thankfully for WB, things went in a very different direction, and it looks like Aquaman will be one of the biggest (if not the biggest) films of the holiday season.
WB’s had internal discussions about an Aquaman sequel, but had yet to officially green light anything or sign Wan for the followup. They were most likely (smartly, it should be added) waiting to see how this film performed before announcing another adventure through Atlantis. Now that they know they have a smash on their hands, they can work on developing a new franchise – one that could complement Wonder Woman and give DC another foundation to build upon. Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck are reportedly out, but Gal Gadot and Momoa are carrying things forward. Fingers crossed Shazam can do the same next year.
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Source: Warner Bros.