Aquaman Sequel Underwhelms at Box Office

Aquaman Sequel Underwhelms at Box Office

The much-anticipated sequel, “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom,” failed to make a splash at the box office, earning a meager $28.1 million in its domestic opening weekend. This makes it the fourth-lowest opening in the history of the DC Extended Universe. Warner Bros. Discovery had projected an opening between $32 million and $42 million, but the film fell short of expectations.

Comparatively, the first “Aquaman” film raked in $67.8 million during its debut weekend in 2018. The significant drop in ticket sales for the sequel raises concerns about its overall performance. Jason Momoa’s potential departure from the franchise following this movie adds to the uncertainty surrounding its future prospects.

“Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” joins a string of recent DC Extended Universe films that have struggled to captivate audiences. Since 2018, only one film from the franchise, “Black Adam,” managed to surpass $60 million in ticket sales during its opening weekend, earning $67 million in early 2022.

The lackluster box office results of films like “Wonder Woman 1984,” “The Suicide Squad,” and “Birds of Prey” highlight the challenges faced by the franchise. Criticism of CGI-heavy action sequences and unsuccessful attempts at assembling an effective ensemble of heroes have plagued these movies. Pandemic-related restrictions also impacted box office performance in 2020 and 2021.

International Ticket Sales Provide Some Hope

Although the domestic opening was disappointing, “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” managed to generate $80.1 million from international ticket sales over the weekend. This brings its expected global revenue to $120 million, including projections for the domestic Christmas holiday period. It’s worth noting that the first “Aquaman” also benefited greatly from international markets, contributing more than 70% of its impressive $1.15 billion box office total.

Both films’ success abroad highlights the global popularity of the Aquaman character. However, it also poses a question for the franchise: can it consistently replicate international success while still struggling to engage domestic audiences?

Franchise Reboot Raises Concerns

The DC Extended Universe faced another blow earlier this year when Warner Bros. Discovery announced that the entire franchise would be rebooted in 2025. This news left fans feeling disconnected from the current film releases, including “Shazam! Fury of the Gods,” “Blue Beetle,” “The Flash,” and “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.” Many fans expressed concern that these movies would have no connection to future DC projects, diminishing their enthusiasm for these theatrical experiences.

The reboot announcement, made by James Gunn and Peter Safran, the newly appointed heads of DC Studios, further undermined the franchise’s stability and direction. It remains to be seen how this decision will impact the already wavering confidence of fans and their interest in future DC films.

Despite its lackluster performance, the upcoming weeks could potentially offer some opportunities for the “Aquaman” sequel. With limited competition in theaters, the film may attract audiences during the holiday season. School vacations often lead to increased demand for out-of-home entertainment, and “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” could benefit from this trend.

Late December releases have historically enjoyed longer theatrical runs, gradually building their audiences throughout the holiday season and into the new year. However, it remains to be seen whether this strategy will be enough to offset the disappointing domestic opening and help revive the fortunes of the sequel.

“Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” fell short of expectations, becoming the fourth-lowest domestic opening in the DC Extended Universe. The franchise continues its struggle to resonate with audiences, and the planned reboot in 2025 has further dampened fan enthusiasm. International ticket sales provide a glimmer of hope, but the road ahead remains uncertain for the underwater superhero.


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