Weekend Box Office: Aquaman 2 ends the DCEU with a thud

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom has the fourth worst debut of the DCEU, ending a universe that launched over ten years ago with Man of Steel.

This holiday weekend saw Vincent Chase return to theaters with Aquaman landing in first place and his highly anticipated turn in Ferrari still to come on Christmas Day. Sadly for the Medellín star and his Entourage, Aquaman landed with a thud while Ferrari isn’t expected to make much of a mark.

Yesterday saw Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom heading to an underwhelming $30 million 3 day debut. Well, it appears even that number was a bit of a pipe dream as the king of Atlantis is seeing a revised weekend of $28.1 million with its 4 day expected to hit just shy of $40 million. That number makes The Lost Kingdom the fourth worst opening in the entire DCEU (after Pandemic plagued titles like Wonder Woman 1984 and The Suicide Squad and this years bomb Blue Beetle). With horrible reviews (including a 5/10 from our own Chris Bumbray) and low audience exit polls (79% audience score and a B cinemascore), I’m not sure this one will have the staying power the first film had when it opened to a modest $67.8 million but legged out to a solid $335.1 million domestic total ($1.15 billion worldwide, the largest total ever for a DC property.) 

Although with no comic book films released until February 14 when the Sony/ Marvel collaboration Madame Web hits theaters, some audiences may take the opportunity to see this final entry in the DC Extended Universe as they wait for that film (that, let’s be honest, is also going to bomb.) Despite the lackluster domestic opening, there is a bit of a silver lining here and that is its international numbers where the film should see around $100 million for the weekend.

Numbers are slightly off this weekend due to Christmas falling on a Monday, something that last happened in 2017 when Star Wars: Episode VIII- The Last Jedi saw a second week take of $71.5 million while films like Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle, Pitch Perfect 3 and The Greatest Showman all saw less than expected openings before finishing their domestic runs with respectable numbers. That is why Wonka is coming in a bit softer than we anticipated in our Thursday predictions with an estimated $17.7 million, a drop of 55% from its debut last week. Again, this is no cause for alarm as with this being the final weekend before Christmas, many people’s top priority wasn’t seeing a movie but rather getting those last minute gifts that they aren’t sure Santa was going to get their loved ones.

Wonka is seeing great reviews mixed with tremendous audience polls (90% audience score with an A- cinemascore) and should see a healthy turn out at the Christmas Day box office with what is expected to be a 4 day gross in the high $20 million range. With no big competition for the next few months, you can expect to see this Timothy Chalamet starring film finish its run with some solid numbers.

If there was any competition in the family film market it would be from the animated birds of Migration which is seeing a $12.3 million 3 day and a 4 day take expected to hit just under $20 million. While that number may seem low for an animated film, if you remember last year Puss in Boots: The Last Wish opened with just $12.4 million before finishing its domestic run with just over $186 million. Animated films tend to play the long game, and with an A cinemascore and an 85% audience score, Migration should have a solid run at the box office, especially when you consider that the next big animated film, Kung Fu Panda 4, doesn’t hit theaters until March 8, 2024.

Spots 3-5 are looking to be the new R rated Rom-Com Anyone But You with an estimated $6.2 million followed by the new Indiana language film Salaar Part 1: Ceasefire with an estimated $5.4 million and a surprisingly decent showing for the new A24 film The Iron Claw with $5 million. For The Iron Claw, A24 has a crowd pleaser on their hands as it has secured the studios best cinemascore to date with an A- and a 96% audience score. I would say this one should play well throughout the holidays, but I’m not sure this true story of the Von Erich family screams “yuletide glee.”

Coming in spots 7-9 are your holdover titles such as The Boy and The Heron with another $3.1 million added to its record setting $30.5 million domestic take followed by The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes which continues its impressive run with an additional $3.1 million added to its $152.4 million domestic take while Godzilla Minus One sees another $2.7 million added to its also record breaking running domestic total of $40.3 million. Rounding out the top ten is another Indian language film, this one the comedy/ drama film Dunki with $2.7 million.

There are a few movies holding previews today before they officially open tomorrow such as the broadway adaptation of The Color Purple, the George Clooney directed The Boys in the Boat and the not Vincent Chase starring Ferrari. Of those three, The Color Purple stands the best chance at cracking the top five on its Christmas Day debut.

Will you be hitting up movie theaters on Christmas Day? Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to take our weekly poll where this week we ask: What is the most Overrated Movie of 2023?

# MOVIE TITLE WKND $ TOTAL $
1 Aquaman and The Lost Kingdom $28.1 M $28.1 M
2 Wonka $17.7 M $75.2 M
3 Migration $12.3 M $12.3 M
4 Anyone But You $6.2 M $6.2 M
5 Salaar Part 1: Ceasefire $5.4 M $5.4 M
6 The Iron Claw $5.0 M $5.0 M
7 The Boy and the Heron $3.154 M $30.5 M
8 The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes $3.150 M $152.6 M
9 Godzilla Minus One $2.74 M $40.3 M
10 Dunki $2.71 M $3.5 M
Source: Comscore

About the Author

314 Articles Published

Brad grew up loving movies and wanting to work in the industry. Graduated from Full Sail University in 2007 before moving to Los Angeles where I was fortunate enough to join SAG-Aftra in 2012. I love every second I get to write about movies for Joblo!