‘Aquaman’ Outswims ‘Poppins,’ ‘Bumblebee’ With $67.4M Debut
NEW YORK (AP) — The DC Comic superhero film, “Aquaman,” easily swam past “Mary Poppins Returns” and “Bumblebee” to lead the busy pre-Christmas weekend.”Aquaman” had an estimated $67.4 million over the weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday, December 23rd.
For the first time in four years, there was no “Star Wars’ film on the December schedule, a crowded slate of films sought to capitalize during the holiday period in theaters.
“Aquaman” costs Warner Bros. $200-million to make. It has already grossed $400-million in three weeks agter being released overseas. Including advance previews, the Jason Momoa-led “Aquaman” reeled in $72.1 million in U.S. and Canada theaters, bringing its global total to $482.8 million.
“Aquaman,” directed by James Wan, has proven to be a stabilizing “Justice League” spinoff for Warner Bros. following bumpier DC releases outside of “Wonder Woman.” The film garnered an A-minus Cinemascore from audiences.
For the studios, the weekend was as much about setting themselves up for Christmas to New Year’s, when theaters are routinely packed through the week. With Christmas falling on a Tuesday, studio executives said the weekend was an unpredictable and distraction-filled one, competing with some of the busiest shopping days of the year.
“We really kick off starting Tuesday,” said Warner Bros. distribution chief Jeff Goldstein, who said the “Aquaman” performance came in just above the studio’s $65 million forecast. “With kids not really returning to school until January 7, this aligns the stars for us in a really positive way.”
Returns were more modest for Disney’s “Mary Poppins” sequel and Paramount’s “Transformers” spinoff, though each had reason to expect strong business through the holidays.
“Mary Poppins Returns,” starring Emily Blunt and directed by Rob Marshall, debuted with $22.2 million over the weekend and $31 million since opening Wednesday. That was on the low side of expectations for the musical, which cost $130 million to make.
“May Poppins Returns,” which co-stars Lin-Manuel Miranda, will depend heavily on legs through the holiday season. On its side are good if not spectacular reviews (77 percent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes), an A-minus CinemaScore from moviegoers and four Golden Globe nominations.
“It’s a great weekend to start yourself off on a launch pad into the holiday period,” said Cathleen Taff, head of distribution for Disney. “We’re looking forward to great word of mouth building over the next few weeks. And we’re looking forward to a long run.”
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