‘Aquaman 2’ Flounders to $4.5 Million at Thursday Box Office

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The final DCEU film is on track to open at just $40 million

Aquaman 2 poster
Warner Bros.

“Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” is off to a sluggish start at the holiday box office with $4.5 million from Thursday previews. That’s well below the $9 million that the first “Aquaman” made from previews and sneak peek screenings in 2018, and also below the $9.7 million that “The Flash” earned earlier this year on its way to a disappointing $55 million opening weekend.

The preview total for “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” was almost beat by fellow Warner Bros. release “Wonka,” which grossed $4.2 million on Thursday for a total of $57.5 million in North America after a week in theaters. Holiday success for Warner Bros. will more likely come from musicals than superheroes as “Wonka” is enjoying strong word-of-mouth while Blitz Bazawule’s “The Color Purple” is also expected to do the same when it opens on Christmas Day with a projected opening day total of at least $10 million.

“Aquaman 2,” the final film in the current iteration of the DC universe before James Gunn and Peter Safran’s reboot, is on track to open in the $35 to $40 million range. 2018’s “Aquaman” earned an opening weekend of $67 million five years ago and reached $100 million in domestic grosses after Christmas Day two days later.

“Aquaman 2’s” Thursday’s previews came in a little higher than “Blue Beetle” which did $3.3 million in Thursday previews before going on to a $25.4 million opening, and “Shazam: Fury of the Gods” which did $3.4 million in Thursday previews and opened at $30.5 million.

But with audiences largely abandoning DC ahead of its reboot under James Gunn and Peter Safran, chances are not looking good for “Aquaman 2” to sustain long-term interest among audiences outside the most devoted of comic book fans, and the film would be fortunate to gross even half of what its predecessor made.

All three DC films released earlier this year — “Shazam: Fury of the Gods,” “The Flash” and “Blue Beetle,” — failed to cross $275 million in global grosses. And their combined gross of $526 million is more than 30% short of the $772 million that “The Batman” made alone for the studio in 2022.

Elsewhere, Universal/Illumination’s “Migration” grossed $1.5 million from 3,050 theaters on Thursday night, slightly less than the $1.7 million that Illumination earned with “Sing” in 2016.

“Migration” is expected to have a very slow start with a $11-14 million 4-day opening this weekend, with Universal hoping that the movie will be able to leg out over the next month similar to how DreamWorks’ “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” performed last year. Reviews have been generally positive with a 70% Rotten Tomatoes score.

Sony/Columbia’s romantic comedy “Anyone But You” earned $1.2 million on Thursday. That’s slightly higher than the $1.1 million that Universal’s George Clooney/Julia Roberts romcom “Ticket to Paradise” earned in previews last year, though “Anyone But You” is expected to open lower to $7-10 million over four days. The film has mixed reviews with a 48% Rotten Tomatoes score.

Finally, A24’s wrestling biopic “The Iron Claw” grossed $670,000 in previews from 2,100 theaters, as it is expected to earn $6-8 million through Christmas Day. Reception for the film has been strong with an 88% RT score and 4.5/5 from general audiences on PostTrak. A24 is hoping that Sean Durkin’s film about the Von Erich wrestling family, which is set in Texas, will play well throughout the southern U.S..


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