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Weekend Box Office Report: December 21-23, 2018

Aquaman surfaces in first!

The oceanic superhero of DC Comics splashed into theaters this weekend as AQUAMAN opened on top at the box office with an estimated $67.4 million!

Including what was netted during the movie's sneak previews over the past week, the underwater adventure of Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa) has a domestic total of $72.1 million (with nearly $10 million of that coming from IMAX screens).

AQUAMAN's deep-diving solo debut had the lowest start of DC's recent "Extended Universe" releases, floundering behind the $93.8 million opening of last year's all-star JUSTICE LEAGUE.

For December openings, it had the ninth-biggest domestic start in history, although it did have to compete with a list that includes lots of STAR WARS and Tolkien movies.

Also featuring Amber Heard, Patrick Wilson and Nicole Kidman, the CG-filled sea fantasy from director James Wan (SAW, THE CONJURING) cost as much as $200 million.

AQUAMAN first made the plunge into international waters a couple of weeks ago, and has since captured an impressive $410 million from overseas crowds for a worldwide total of $482.8 million.

Critics were wishy-washy on the undersea exploits, giving the movie an average of 64% on Rotten Tomatoes (still the second-best DCEU score behind the 93% average of WONDER WOMAN). Wade on over to the JoBlo review HERE.

Opening in second place was Disney's MARY POPPINS RETURNS with $22.2 million for the weekend.

The PG-rated sequel, with Emily Blunt taking the umbrella and fancy hat collection from the 1964 original's Julie Andrews, has collected $31 million since it first descended from the clouds on Wednesday.

The follow-up from director Rob Marshall (INTO THE WOODS, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES) came with a reported production cost of $130 million.

The musical fantasy featuring Broadway star Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw and the returning Dick Van Dyke has also enchanted $20.3 million from overseas audiences for a $51.3 million worldwide total.

Most critics seemed to enjoy the latest live-action magic from author P.L. Travers' classic character, giving it a 77% average on Rotten Tomatoes (the JoBlo review is HERE).

In third place was the new TRANSFORMERS spinoff movie BUMBLEBEE with an opening of $21 million.

The first in a new planned "TRANSFORMERS Universe" series, the 1980s-set prequel had the lowest opening of the franchise behind the $44.6 million start of last summer's TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT.

Brought to life by KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS director Travis Knight, the adventures of Hailee Steinfeld and her large yellow friend cost a reported $135 million.

Critics cheered the early tale of robotic vehicles, giving the PG-13 movie a 94% average on Rotten Tomatoes (a significant achievement compared to the previous TRANSFORMERS releases, which range from 57% for the original movie to 15% for THE LAST KNIGHT). Roll on over to the JoBlo review HERE.

The animated SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE slipped to fourth place with $16.7 million, down by 53% from its opening on top last weekend. The PG-rated gathering of multi-dimensional wall-crawlers has webbed a ten-day domestic total of $64.8 million and $129.6 million worldwide, on a reported cost of $90 million.

Clint Eastwood's narcotic delivery drama THE MULE was in fifth place with $9.9 million, skidding by 43% from last weekend's opening. The R-rated crime thriller (also directed by the star) has a ten-day domestic total of $35.6 million on a reported $50 million cost.

In sixth place, THE GRINCH plotted his holiday heist with $8.1 million for a domestic total of $253.1 million, passing the $251 million finish of Illumination's own DESPICABLE ME and drawing within a fuzzy green finger's reach of the $260 domestic total for the live-action THE GRINCH WHO STOLE CHRISTMAS in 2000. With $422.5 million worldwide, the animated update of the Dr. Seuss classic has already overtaken the $345 million global total of the Jim Carrey version.

Opening in seventh place was the new Jennifer Lopez comedy SECOND ACT with $6.5 million.

The PG-13 romcom directed by Peter Segal (TOMMY BOY, GET SMART) cost a reported $16 million, making it the cheapest release in the Top 10.

Critics weren't particularly passionate about Lopez's first headlining romantic comedy since 2010's THE BACK-UP PLAN, giving the movie a 41% average on Rotten Tomatoes (the JoBlo review is HERE).

Disney's animated sequel RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET was in eighth place with $4.5 million, which brings the WRECK-IT RALPH follow-up to $162 million domestic and $307.5 million worldwide on a reported $175 million cost.

Opening in ninth place was the new PG-13 drama WELCOME TO MARWEN with $2.3 million (in 1900 locations, for the lowest per-screen average in the Top 10)

Director Robert Zemeckis' CG-enhanced twist on the fact-based story (previously captured in the documentary MARWENCOL) cost a reported $39 million.

Critics were generally repelled by Steve Carell's doll days, giving the movie an average of 25% on Rotten Tomatoes. The JoBlo review can be found HERE.

The Saoirse Ronan/Margot Robbie period drama MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS expanded to nearly 800 screens and made an appearance in tenth place with $2.2 million, giving the R-rated royalty a domestic total of $3.5 million after its limited release.

Outside the chart, the Peter Jackson-produced post-apocalyptic fantasy MORTAL ENGINES rumbled out of sight after a single week in the Top 10. In addition, boxing sequel CREED II went out swinging, GREEN BOOK drove off the list, INSTANT FAMILY headed home, FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD  lost its magic and BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY  finally left the stage.

In limited release, the romantic drama IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK continued solid business with a $22k per-screen average on its second weekend. And Peter Jackson's war documentary THEY SHALL NOT GROW OLD had a single day in theaters on December 17th for $2.3 million.

Next week has gifts on Christmas Day in the form of Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly as detective duo HOLMES & WATSON, and Christian Bale doing his best Dick Cheney impression in the biopic VICE. Holiday limited releases include the Nicole Kidman crime drama DESTROYER and the Ruth Bader Ginsburg biopic ON THE BASIS OF SEX.

What is your favorite DC Comics superhero movie? VOTE HERE!

# MOVIE TITLE WKND $ TOTAL $
1. Aquaman $67.4 M $72.1 M
2. Mary Poppins Returns $22.2 M $31 M
3. Bumblebee $21 M
NEW
4. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse $16.7 M $64.8 M
5. The Mule $9.9 M $35.6 M
6. The Grinch $8.1 M $253.2 M
7. Second Act $6.5 M
NEW
8. Ralph Breaks the Internet $4.5 M $162 M
9. Welcome to Marwen $2.3 M
NEW
10. Mary Queen of Scots $2.2 M $3.5 M

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Source: Box Office Mojo

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