Who would have ever imagined that the co-creator (and initial director) of the Saw franchise could hold the key to resurrecting the DCEU? James Wan’s doing precisely that, with more than a little help from Jason Momoa’s boundless enthusiasm and charisma. Last week, Aquaman gushed into the box-office to easily sweep first place, and one week later, the Justice League spinoff (a strange and fun ride that mostly ignores Justice League) is swimming past its elder film. How soon the little ones forget, right?
Box Office Mojo predicts that the King of Atlantis will easily stay at #1 for a second week in a row, given that he appeals to more demographics than Mary Poppins Returns. Further, there’s not much new competition from the disastrous Holmes and Watson or political satire Vice (even though the latter could carry Oscar potential). What’s really impressive, though, is that Aquaman‘s first domestic week eclipsed a first full week (including a full-on holiday weekend) from Justice League. Per Deadline:
Warner Bros./DC’s Aquaman finally swam past Justice League with a first week of $137.2M (that includes previews) after a Thursday of $14.6M, -13% from Wednesday. Justice League made $130.8M in its first week which included the Thanksgiving holiday in November last year.
It gets better. Justice League eventually raked in $229 million in the U.S. and $658 million worldwide. That last number, wildly, is already close to losing to Aquaman‘s $614 million global take, which should grow even more substantially over the next month. All for a guy who talks to fish.
It’s not difficult to figure out why audiences gushed toward this movie, which promised a much lighter approach than Zack Snyder’s ultra-dark spin on DC Comics for Warner Bros. Further, Momoa easily endeared women who weren’t already fans of comic book stories, for he’s such a muscle-bound goofball who appears to be grateful for every opportunity. It’s swell to see him finally carry a successful project, largely due to his appeal in an onscreen capacity. As far as behind-the-camera talent goes, Wan has already proven himself capable of tackling numerous genres and, with Aquaman, has already almost eclipsed his own initial The Conjuring film (which captured $137.4 million total, domestically). However, Aquaman still has quite a distance to swim before approaching Wan’s Furious 7, which pulled in $353 million total in the U.S. (and $1.5 billion globally) back in 2015.
Well, that settles things for the sequel that’s already in the works. Next time, put Jason Momoa on dry land and have him drag race. Sold!