“Aquaman 2” Manages to Finally Sink the DCEU For Good at the Box Office

Aquaman 2 movie box office 2023
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (Image: Trailer)

The box office numbers for the holiday weekend are in with Aquaman 2: The Lost Kingdom bringing the much-troubled DECU to a disappointing close and the musical The Color Purple managing to entertain audiences!

Even though Warner Bros. was able to claim the top positions at the 2023 holiday box office, if you look at it, the numbers aren’t great. Now, before I get to The Color Purple outperforming expectations (that movie deserves!), let’s first talk about the latest superhero offering Aquaman and The Lost Kingdom.

Even before its release, the film was surrounded by a lot of controversy due to alleged reports about Amber Heard’s role as Mera being cut down due to the unfortunate Depp and Heard case. Furthermore, with Shazam 2, The Flash, and Blue Beetle also flopping at the box office and news of James Gunn working toward giving the DCEU a soft reboot, audiences were ready to move on to the next chapter. So, the much-needed hype for Aquaman 2 just couldn’t materialize as the release date swam closer, at least not domestically.

Starring Jason Momoa as the titular character, the sequel to the $1 billion grossing Aquaman movie (2018) was able to get a four-day opening of $38 million, with the movie bringing in $10.5 million on Monday. Even with no big releases on the horizon, the latest superhero flick (which cost approximately $200 million to produce) isn’t expected to see impressive repeat viewership dollars going into 2024.

For those wondering, I did watch Aquaman and the Last Kingdom and I have to say that I didn’t enjoy it. The last thing I wanted from an Aquaman sequel was a bro-comedy that leaned a bit too much toward immature humor for my liking. However, having said that I do think some of the fight sequences were good though.

While most of the DCEU actors will be recast, Momoa will survive the upcoming reboot with him possibly going on to play the role of Lobo. I mean, in a sense, he’s already playing Aquaman as kind of Lobo-lite. So, let’s see how fans will react to such a change.

As for the international numbers, as of writing this article, Aquaman 2 has managed to collect more than $128 million globally. In contrast, Blue Beetle was able to see a global haul of approximately $129 million during its entire run. Shazam 2‘s global haul was around $133 million. So, I guess that’s kind of a win for the studio? Depending on how you look at the situation.

Wonka was able to snag second place with $18 million over the 3-days. The global number stands near $263 million, which isn’t bad for the Timothee Chalamet-starring fantasy musical. In my opinion, it was a serviceable prequel story for the iconic character. But I doubt I will be watching it again anytime soon.

Award-hopeful The Color Purple saw the highest Christmas Day opening for a film since 2009 by grossing $18 million in North American theatres. This number is also the second-biggest Christmas Day opening of all time.

Directed by Blitz Bazawule and starring Taraji P. Henson, Danielle Brooks, Fantasia Barrino, Halle Bailey, and more, the film continues to see positive critic and audience reactions. I’m not the biggest fan of musicals out there, but The Color Purple is simply extraordinary. I enjoyed watching every minute of it. You should see it too!

Other new entries included The Boys in the Boat (bringing in $5.7 million on its first day of release) and the Adam Driver-starring biopic Ferrari (which saw an opening day of $2.8 million). 

Coming back to the rest of the latest Top 10 list at the Box Office, following Wonka were the animated movie Migration (with a 3-day of $12.4) million and the rom-com Anyone But You (with a 3-day total of $6 million).

While Migration made me go “Meh!” I was surprised to see Anyone But You featuring a queer storyline. A major part of the plot involved the sisters of the two leads (played by Sydney Sweeney and Glen Powell) getting married to each other. The fact that I didn’t see anything queer-related in the marketing campaign is weird to me. I do feel the movie could have tried harder to gain the attention of the queer audience by pushing the lesbian marriage, even though the main romance was between two straight characters.

But oh well, with an approximate production budget of $25 million, Anyone But You did feel like a film that should do a lot better on streaming. If I’m being honest, certain scenes did make me laugh. 

Did you watch Aquaman 2 and The Color Purple?

Feel free to share your thoughts with us.

(via Variety, Box Office Mojo)

Author: Farid-ul-Haq

Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.


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