Back in October, some early box office tracking numbers hit the net for Aquaman, and they were extremely Okay. At that time, Box Office Pro used its own mysterious metrics to “predict” an opening somewhere between $40 and $60 million for James Wan’s DC epic.
But much has changed since then.
For starters, we got a new trailer in the middle of November that turned a lot of skeptics into believers. And, this is the biggie: Tickets officially went on sale.
So now that the world has gotten to see the final trailer for Aquaman, and now that sites like Atom Tickets and Fandango have verifiable data to share, the long-range projections for Arthur Curry’s first ever solo film have been revised. Deadline is reporting that the film is looking at a 3-day haul of around $65 million, and a 5-day holiday total of around $100 million. That is pretty darn good when you consider that, traditionally speaking, films that open around Christmas time aren’t typically massive box office titans.
We tend to forget that because of Star Wars. These last few years, the new Star Wars films have routinely shattered the perception of what a “holiday blockbuster” can do. Up until The Force Awakens, the big champ was 2012’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey with an opening weekend of $84.6M- which was considered great at the time. Then TFA came out in 2015 and pulled in a jaw-dropping $247.9 million, and the Lucasfilm franchise would repeat with two more outsized openings in 2016 and 2017. But those films were the exception, not the rule.
That’s why everyone should feel very good about Aquaman possibly pulling in $65 over its opening weekend- a figure that’s made even better when you consider that it’s up against some steep competition. The DC adventure is going to face off against Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns and Paramount’s Bumblebee. Poppins, which opens two days prior, is said to be looking at a first week that tops off at around $70 million, while Bumblebee is likely going to earn around $40 million during the same five day stretch as Aquaman.
It should also be noted that films opening in this holiday frame tend to go on to great profits in the weeks to come. Unlike most other times of year, when films have very front-loaded runs at the box office, Deadline points out that last year’s two big non-Star Wars holiday hits The Greatest Showman and Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle both made more than 91% of their final tallies after their Christmas openings. To put that into perspective for you, the Jumanji sequel opened to only $36 million on December 20, 2017…and would go on to make $962.7 for Sony when all was said and done.
So films that please audiences during the holidays tend to reap their rewards well into January, as opposed to other times of year where those first two weekends are crucial to a film’s success. And with all of the positive buzz around Aquaman, the film is poised to make Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment very happy in the New Year.
And for making it this far, I’ll throw in a little DC Gossip for ya, from a pair of sources:
The film’s success (or unlikely failure) will influence certain things. Like canon (read more about that here), budgetary allowances for other gestating DC films, and it’ll be their first opportunity to see how much- if any- damage Justice League did to the DC brand, as the studio continues to evolve its philosophy on how to handle these films. So insiders are telling me that the studio is keeping a very watchful eye on Aquaman as it determines how it’ll handle its future.
Lastly, a note on these projections:
They’ve been wrong before. Very wrong. Look no further than the time Solo: A Star Wars Story was projected to open to between $165 and $175 million. The film would go on to actually open to $84.4. So don’t uncork your bottle of champagne for Aquaman just yet. For now, let’s take solace in the fact that the film is looking to do very well, even despite its crowded release window. And that’s exciting.