Box Office Wrap Up: Aquaman Rides Global Wave.
Taking 1st place in the domestic box office was a bonus for Aquaman, which has conquered foreign markets.
While Aquaman may be lord of Atlantis, he’s not doing too shabby in Beijing. While his US debut was not record-breaking, it was plenty good enough for first place against two other big franchises. It also made a nice dessert course after having chewed its way through foreign markets to the tune of nearly half a billion dollars. For a movie about a guy who talks to fish, Aquaman sure had a lot to say at the box office.
This Week In Box Office History.
This Christmas weekend didn’t have a Star Wars, but did nearly identical numbers to last year. Overall the box office was just 2 million dollars lighter than last year, and up a sizable 52% from last week. The triple threat of Aquaman, Mary Poppins, and Bumblebee all combined to concentrate over 100 million dollars in the top three alone. While impressive, there was seemingly plenty to go around as the overall take of 178 million dollars was spread across the field. This helped a couple Oscar favorites to crack the top ten alongside the bigger tent-pole films.
Top Film Last Year: Star Wars – The Last Jedi.
Top Film Last Decade: Yes Man.
Top Three Films.
Aquaman dominated the box office, taking in 67 million dollars and first place over the three day weekend. That is the lowest opening for a DCEU film in the US, but paradoxically Aquaman enjoys some of the best audience scores of the bunch. It also has completely mastered the seven seas, taking in a whopping 415 million dollars on the foreign markets. This includes a hefty take of 189 million dollars in China. With decent critical scores and good word of mouth, it should be just fine domestically, and will likely continue to ride the giant wave overseas as well.
Mary Poppins floated in to second place, taking in 23 million dollars at home. That was in line with studio estimates going into the week, but still troubling. It is a little higher than Pete’s Dragon or The Nutcracker, but a bit lower than Disney’s Christopher Robin (which I would argue is a telling comparison as they share quite a lot of themes.) It is also a lot lower than A Wrinkle in Time, which had nearly an identical budget. Overall, second place may be medicine no amount of sugar can ease as Disney yet again struggles with live action films.
Third place is another mixed signal, as Bumblebee notched 21 million dollars domestically. That’s the worst opening of the series, but once again the film boasts some of the best reviews of the franchise. Paramount smartly scaled back the budget from the unwieldy 200 million of the latter iterations, spending just a hair below the original film from 2007. More and more often the series has lived or died on foreign sales. That may be a tougher proposition this season as Aquaman is dominating there. We’ll know more about Bumblebee’s fate when the film opens in China on January 4th.
The other two wide release films managed to find footholds in the top ten. Jennifer Lopez’ comedy Second Act finished up at the seventh spot, taking in a healthy 6 million dollars against a 16 million dollar budget. The Steve Carell led drama Welcome to Marwen held on to the ninth spot with 2 million dollars against a 39 million dollar budget. Despite the fine cast and pedigree of the director (Zemeckis being responsible for the mega hits Forrest Gump and the Back to the Future trilogy) the film has received scathing reviews from critics, and audience reaction was lukewarm.
Expanding nationally, Mary Queen of Scots rounded out the top ten, adding 2 million dollars to its cumulative take of 3.5 million dollars.