Friday Box Office: ‘Aquaman’ Impresses with $28 Million Start to Holiday Weekend

     December 22, 2018


It’s official: Aquaman is making a splash at the box office this weekend. While Warner Bros.’ DC Comics film was a big question mark for the Christmas holiday frame—would families really be in the mood for a colorful superhero movie at this time of year?—the film is off to a terrific start, pulling in $28 million on Friday. That puts the movie on track for a weekend debut in the range of $67 million, which would be one of the best year-end showings ever for a movie not called Star Wars.

Indeed, the weekend gross of Aquaman won’t be a 1:1 with the opening weekends of previous DC movies like Wonder Woman ($103 million), Suicide Squad ($133 million), or Man of Steel ($116 million) as the previous DC films all opened in the summer, where the three-day weekend is everything. With Aquaman’s December 21st release date, all eyes will be on how the film performs next week, when kids are out of school and families are looking for something to go see while all together for the holidays. Indeed, traditionally the Christmas box office is slow pre-December 25th before picking up significantly on Christmas Day and the ensuing week, up through January 1st. That means there could be a lot of road ahead.


Image via Warner Bros.

Aquaman is already off to a huge start overseas, where it’s been in theaters for a couple of weeks already. Its international gross stands at $350.7 million with $214.3 million of that coming from China alone. How high will it soar here domestically? Obviously these Friday numbers show that the film’s largely positive reviews have boosted its profile, and it’ll prove to be a formidable contender opposite more traditional family fare Mary Poppins Returns and Bumblebee.

Speaking of which, Disney’s Mary Poppins sequel is expected to pull in a five-day opening gross of $30 million after nabbing $6.7 million on Friday, but the majority of this film’s tickets will be sold on or after Christmas Day when family business really kicks in. Bumblebee, meanwhile, pulled in a solid $8 million on Friday and is looking towards a three-day gross around $23 million, but again these numbers can be deceiving as the majority of the Christmas box office kicks into gear next week.

Aquaman, Mary Poppins Returns, and Bumblebee all nabbed A- CinemaScores from moviegoers, which could portend solid word of mouth. As for how that compares to other DC movies, it’s above Suicide Squad (B+), Batman v Superman (B), and Justice League (B+), on par with Man of Steel (A-), and below Wonder Woman (A).

Check back for full weekend estimates tomorrow, and stay tuned next week as we track the ups and downs of the holiday box office. From where we’re sitting now, however, Warner Bros. can breathe easy: Aquaman‘s a hit.

Rank Title Friday Total
1. Aquaman $28,000,000 $32,700,000
2. Bumblebee $8,460,000 $8,460,000
3. Mary Poppins Returns $6,700,000 $15,514,671
4. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse $4,850,000 $52,950,063
5. The Mule $4,250,000 $29,953,465

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