'Aquaman' Splashes Down with $67.4 Million Debut; 'Poppins' and 'Bumblebee' Play Runner-Up
by Brad Brevet
December 23, 2018
The long Christmas weekend is underway with Aquaman, Warner Bros.'s latest entry into their DC Extended Universe, topping the charts, on its way to a $100+ million five-day opening. Meanwhile, Disney's Mary Poppins Returns and Paramount's Bumblebee finished in runner-up positions over a weekend that played relatively similarly to the same weekend last year, though given the holiday timing its hard to make an apples-to-apples comparison.
Performing almost exactly as expected, WB's release of Aquaman easily took the #1 spot at the weekend box office with an estimated $67.4 million over the course of the three-day weekend and a cume that now stands at $72.1 million once you include the $4.7 million in grosses from pre-weekend Amazon Prime showings. The film is now expected to deliver around $105 million over the course of its first five days, which ends on Christmas Day, routinely the busiest day at the box office all year. The film received an "A-" CinemaScore from opening day audiences and played to an opening weekend crowd that was 55% male and 58% aged 25 years or older.
Overall, the performance ranks as one of the top ten December openings of all-time, though it is sixth largest debut within WB's DC Extended Universe. That last note, however, will be an interesting stat to watch as Aquaman has enjoyed some of the best reviews of the franchise and audiences seem to be enjoying it to the tune of an 86% audience rating on RottenTomatoes.
Worldwide, the film is the #1 release at the global box office for the third week in a row, bringing in another $91.3 million overseas this weekend from 70 markets for an international cume that now stands at $410.7 million and a global tally totaling $482.8 million. Comparing to all overseas markets in release, WB reports Aquaman is tracking as the highest grossing film in the DC Universe (+22% higher than Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, +52% higher than Justice League and +86% ahead of Wonder Woman). The film's top market remains China with an impressive $232.8 million, which ranks as the seventh highest grossing imported title in the market all-time. The film also debuted in South Korea this weekend with $9.9 million along with openings in France ($6.2m), Germany ($4.2m), Spain ($2.8m) and Hong Kong ($2.7m). The film will open in Australia on December 26 followed by openings in Italy (Jan 1) and Japan (Feb 8).
Disney's Mary Poppins landed in second position for the three-day after opening on Wednesday. The film brought in an estimated $22.2 million over Friday-Sunday frame for a $31 million five-day cume. This is mostly what was expected heading into the weekend and while this may seem like a light performance this is a film that should play well throughout the holidays and into the new year. The film received strong reviews prior to opening — 65 on Metacritic 77% on RottenTomatoes — to go along with an "A-" CinemaScore from opening day crowds. Poppins's audience was 59% female with 61% of the opening weekend crowd coming in aged 25 years or older.
Internationally, Mary Poppins Returns delivered an estimated $20.3 million from its first 17 markets, including a #1 start in the UK with an estimated $9.4 million. Additional openings include Italy ($2.8m), France ($2m), Germany ($1.9m) and Spain ($1.4m). The film expands further next weekend, debuting in Mexico, Denmark, Finland, Norway and many more with early January openings set for Australia and Russia and February debuts set for Japan and South Korea.
Paramount's release of Bumblebee, the sixth film in the Transformers franchise, landed in third with an estimated $21 million as it too plays to expectations and should also enjoy a lengthy box office run thanks to strong reviews and an "A-" CinemaScore from opening day audiences. That being said, the only real question with this film, as well as Aquaman and Sony Animation's Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, is just how well all these films can play alongside one another and not cannibalize each other's potential box office as they play, mostly, to the same crowd. For now we're looking for Bumblebee to deliver a $32+ million five-day start.
Internationally, Bumblebee opened in 38 markets with an estimated $31.1 million led by $4.9 million openings in both Russia and Indonesia. Additional openings include Mexico ($3.9m), Australia ($2.8m), Malaysia ($2.6m), Germany ($1.8m), Thailand ($1.2m) and Singapore ($1.2m). The film will expand into 17 additional markets next week including France, UK, Brazil, Korea and Spain with a January 4 release set for China and a March 22 release planned for Japan.
The aforementioned release of Sony Animations's Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse landed in fourth place with an estimated $16.7 million to kick off its second weekend with a cume that now stands just shy of $65 million. The film's 53% second weekend drop is a little more than anticipated, which speaks to the amount of competition that's currently in the marketplace right now, vying for the attention of the same sets of eyeballs.
Spider-Verse also began its run in China this weekend, debuting at #1 with an estimated $26.1 million contributing to a $38 million international weekend and an overseas cume that now stands at $64.8 million. The film is still yet to open in Mexico (Dec 25), Italy (Dec 25), Brazil (Jan 10) and Japan (Mar 28).
Rounding out the top five is WB's release of Clint Eastwood's The Mule, which enters its second week in release with an estimated $9.95 million and a domestic cume that now stands at $35.6 million.
Universal and Illumination's release of The Grinch added an estimated $8.18 million this weekend as its cume now stands at $253.2 million, moving it ahead of Illumination's Despicable Me as the animation house's sixth largest domestic release of all-time. The film is certainly positioned to continue its strong run with Christmas right around the corner.
In seventh position we find STXfilms's release of Second Act, which delivered an estimated $6.5 million for the three-day weekend as it looks to deliver $8.5+ million over its first five days in release. The $16 million romantic comedy stars Jennifer Lopez and received a "B+" CinemaScore from opening day audiences while the weekend crowd was 70% female with 51% were of the overall audience coming in between the ages of 25 and 44 and 75% of the total audience aged 25 or older.
Barely finding its way into the top ten, Universal and DreamWorks's release of Robert Zemeckis's Welcome to Marwen was pretty much a disaster as the $39 million production scored a mere $2.35 million in its first three days from 1,911 locations and a $1,233 per theater average. The film didn't necessarily sit well with the audiences that did show up, receiving a harmless "B-" CinemaScore, which pretty much guarantees this one's theatrical tenure will be limited at best. The film played to an audience that was 52% female and 79% of the overall audience was aged 25 or older.
Hot on Marwen's heels is Focus Features's Mary Queen of Scots, which brought in an estimated $2.2 million over the three day as it expanded nationwide, playing in 795 locations (+729) as it enters its third week in release.
Just outside the top five is Fox Searchlight's The Favourite as it enters its fifth weekend in release and has now expanded nationwide, playing in 790 locations (+349) where it brought in an estimated $2.06 million for a cumulative gross that now stands at $10 million. The film will add a few additional locations next weekend as it plays throughout the holiday season, hoping to advance even further in the awards season race.
In limited release, Amazon Studios's Cold War brought in an estimated $55,727 from three locations for a $18,576 per theater average.
Next week begins early with Christmas debuts of Sony's Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly comedy Holmes and Watson and Annapurna releasing Vice in 2,700+ and 2,300+ theaters respectively. Additionally, Annapurna will release the Nicole Kidman-led Destroyer in three theaters and Focus will open On the Basis of Sex in 33 locations.
You can check out all of this weekend's estimated results right here and we'll be updating our charts with weekend actuals after the New Year as estimates will continue for the next week.
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