Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom Surpasses Two Marvel & DC 2023 Failures in Global Box Office

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom Surpasses Two Marvel & DC 2023 Failures in Global Box Office

The latest installment in the Aquaman franchise, “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom,” has made a splash in international theaters, drawing audiences intrigued by the continuing exploits of DC’s Arthur Curry, portrayed by Jason Momoa. As a direct sequel to the wildly successful 2018 film “Aquaman,” which stands as the highest-grossing movie in the DC Extended Universe with an impressive $1.15 billion in earnings, expectations were naturally high for this sequel.

However, the movie’s performance at the domestic box office over the weekend before Christmas fell short of anticipations, opening to an estimated $27.6 million. This debut places it as the fourth-worst opening within the 15-movie franchise.

Despite this lukewarm domestic start, the global reception paints a more promising picture. “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” has significantly bolstered its numbers with an additional $80.1 million from 73 international markets. This robust international turnout, including a noteworthy premiere in China, where it claimed the top spot for a superhero film in 2023, has propelled its global opening weekend earnings to $107.7 million. Yet, it still falls short of recouping its production budget, which exceeds $200 million.

Comparing the performance of “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” with other live-action superhero films released in 2023, the landscape appears mixed. While superhero movies, in general, have seen declining returns, this trend is evident within both the DC and Marvel franchises. Notably, “Aquaman 2” surpasses certain recent disappointments within both universes by notable margins:

  • Tracking 14% ahead of “Black Adam
  • Leading by 22% compared to “The Flash
  • Surpassing “The Marvels” by a significant 42%

Despite facing critical backlash and uncertainties about a potential “Aquaman 3,” the film demonstrates a stronger performance compared to “The Marvels,” which recorded the MCU’s weakest opening weekend in November. However, it falls short of the global openings achieved by “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” ($282.1 million) and “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” ($225 million) from the MCU in 2023.

Should “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” maintain its momentum during the holiday season, a robust performance akin to that of “Ant-Man” and even surpassing its total earnings of $476 million could be within reach. Notably, within the DC movie releases of 2023, it stands as the second strongest globally after “The Flash,” eclipsing the figures of “Blue Beetle” and “Shazam! Fury of the Gods.”

Given the absence of major superhero blockbusters until the arrival of “Madame Web” in February 2024, the potential for “Aquaman” to consolidate its success, particularly buoyed by international markets, remains considerable.


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