'Aquaman' Ready to Float to Top of Box Office Again
SATURDAY AM UPDATE: At the top of the Friday box office is WB's Aquaman, pulling in an estimated $17.1 million, giving it a good shot at reaching $50 million for the three-day, pushing its cume over $185 million by the end of the weekend. Internationally, the film brought in an estimated $18.4 million from 78 markets on Friday, taking the international cume to $511.8 million for a worldwide tally topping $666 million.

In second place, Disney's Mary Poppins Returns is starting to show its legs, bringing in a strong $10.6 million on Friday, heading toward a $32+ million weekend, a +40% gain over last weekend.

Annapurna's Vice brought in an estimated $2.73 million on Friday and is looking at a three-day around $8-9 million.

Sony's Holmes & Watson brought in an estimated $2.67 million, heading toward a three-day performance that may fall short of $8 million.

You can check out all of the Friday estimates right here and we'll be back tomorrow morning with a complete look at the weekend.

As we enter the final days of 2018, the year is already the largest grossing year at the domestic box office of all-time, topping 2016's $11.37 billion in domestic grosses with more than $11.5 billion and counting. This weekend sees the Christmas Day releases of Sony's Holmes and Watson and Annapurna's Vice enter their first, full Friday thru Sunday frame while a fleet of holdovers led by WB's Aquaman hope to take advantage of the last major holiday weekend in 2018. To that point, forecasting for this weekend is a bit difficult given it isn't often the holidays line up as they have this year, the last time being 2012 and before that 2007, but we're hoping the guidance we can get from those years is enough to help us nail down reasonable expectations for this weekend's performances.

To begin with, WB's Aquaman has already enjoyed a strong start to its domestic run, not to mention having already grossed nearly $600 million worldwide. Last weekend the film generated $67.4 million over its opening three days and on Tuesday delivered the sixth largest Christmas Day of all-time, beating Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. Additionally, the film received an "A-" CinemaScore from opening day audiences, on par with Man of Steel and behind Wonder Woman's "A" CinemaScore, which is the best CinemaScore among the films in the DC Extended Universe. The tricky part is in deciphering what this means for this weekend.

To look at all the previous films released in the DC Extended Universe, the average second weekend drop is -51% with Wonder Woman's -37% second weekend dip being the best of the lot. For those wondering, films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe average a -50% drop with Thor's -39% second weekend dip being the best of the now 20-film franchise. We mention this because we're currently expecting Aquaman to dip around -26% for a second weekend nearing $50 million. This could be a rather aggressive forecast and if it holds the film would be looking at a domestic cume over $185 million by the end of the weekend.

In second place look for Disney's Mary Poppins Returns to be one of several films to receive a boost compared to last weekend. With this title we're looking for a +21% performance leading to a three-day weekend right around $28.5 million. A look at IMDb page view data shows the film maintaining interest since release, similar to films such as The Greatest Showman, which saw a monster, +76% increase from its opening weekend last year and while the two films don't necessarily compare considering Showman's light debut weekend, the "A-" CinemaScore from Poppins and strong daily performances, which saw its second Wednesday actually outperform its opening Wednesday by +130% suggests this one is on its way to a lengthy domestic run.

Paramount's Bumblebee should land in third and we're looking for this one to perform just behind its $21.6 million opening last weekend. Right now we have it dipping right around -8% for a $20 million three-day. Preventing us from going slightly higher is the crowded field that begins with Aquaman and continues with our next film.

Sony Animation's Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse saw a larger dip last weekend (-53%) than we expected, but this week it has already started to show it still has some staying power with a solid Christmas Day performance and joining Ralph Breaks the Internet as the only two films to actually show an increase the day after Christmas. Whether that means we're being a little bullish with our expectation for a +15% bump this weekend and a three-day around $19 million remains to be seen, but the strong buzz around this title should definitely assist.

Rounding out the top five, WB's The Mule will be looking at a $9+ million performance, but the question is whether Sony's Christmas Day release of Holmes & Watson can somehow find a way to top that, though we have our doubts.

Holmes & Watson is looking like something of a disaster as the $42 million production hit theaters with awful reviews and an embarrassing "D+" CinemaScore from opening, Christmas Day audiences. Heading into release Sony was anticipating a six-day performance around $16 million for the Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly comedy, which is already well below previous three-day openings for the duo, but at this point to think it can muster much more than $7-8 million for the weekend might be expecting too much.

Hot on its heels is Annapurna's release of Adam McKay's Vice, which appears it might be a bit too divisive to carry the same box office weight as the director's The Big Short. While reviews for the film are decent — 65% on RottenTomatoes and 61 on Metacritic — they don't come anywhere near reviews for Big Short and the "C+" CinemaScore from Christmas Day audiences is well shy of the "A-" The Big Short received.

While Vice did lead the list of nominees at the Golden Globes, Annapurna should have perhaps taken notes from Paramount's platform release strategy for The Big Short, which played in limited locations over its first two weeks before going wide just before Christmas, leading to a lengthy run and over $70 million at the domestic box office. As it turns out, Vice might be able to merely eke out a performance similar to The Big Short's fifth weekend in release this weekend and land $7 million, while unlikely to see the same kind of legs even if it does well when the Oscar nominees are announced on January 22.

Elsewhere this weekend, Focus's On the Basis of Sex, telling the story of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, remains in 33 locations following its Christmas Day bow and Annapurna's Destroyer starring Nicole Kidman will be playing in three locations after it too debuted on Christmas Day.

This weekend's forecast is directly below. This post will be updated with Friday estimates on Saturday morning followed by a complete weekend recap on Sunday morning.

  • Aquaman - $50.0 M
  • Mary Poppins Returns - $28.5 M
  • Bumblebee - $20.0 M
  • Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse - $19.1 M
  • The Mule - $9.0 M
  • Holmes and Watson - $8.0 M
  • Second Act - $7.5 M
  • Vice - $7.0 M
  • Dr. Seuss' The Grinch - $6.0 M
  • Ralph Breaks the Internet - $5.3 M

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