'Aquaman' is King of the Box Office Seas for a Second Weekend in a Row
by Brad Brevet
December 30, 2018
There were no big surprises in the final weekend of a record-setting 2018 as Warner Bros.'s Aquaman is once again king of the box office seas with a domestic cume that now tops $188 million and a worldwide tally nearing $750 million. Meanwhile, the weekend's new wide releases in Annapurna's Vice and Sony's Holmes & Watson were quiet in their debuts as the bulk of the weekend attention goes to holiday holdovers.
Just slightly outperforming Mojo's pre-weekend expectations, WB and DC's Aquaman delivered the smallest second weekend drop in the DC Extended Universe, dipping just -23.5% for a $51.55 million second weekend, pushing the film's domestic cume over $188 million. The film now ranks as the eleventh largest domestic release based on a DC Comic after just ten days in release.
Internationally, Aquaman brought in an estimated $85.4 million this weekend from 78 markets for an overseas cume totaling $560 million and a global tally reaching $748.8 million. This makes the film the third largest worldwide release in the DC Extended Universe, topping Suicide Squad. Meanwhile, it's the fifth largest worldwide release based on a DC Comic and the second largest international release behind only The Dark Knight Rises ($636.8m). China remains Aquaman's top market with a massive $260.4 million with releases in Italy set for January 1 and Japan serving as the final market to release where the film will open on February 8.
Disney's Mary Poppins Returns also performed right on par with Mojo's pre-weekend forecast, delivering an estimated $28 million in its second weekend, a +19% improvement over last weekend, resulting in a domestic cume just shy of $100 million as the film begins to show potential for long legs.
Internationally, Mary Poppins added $28.9 million this weekend from 37 markets for an international cume that now stands just shy of $75 million. The film's top overseas market remains the UK where it has grossed nearly $30 million so far and it will open in Australia and Russia next weekend.
Paramount's Bumblebee dipped just -5% in its second weekend, delivering an estimated $20.5 million for a domestic cume that now stands at $66.7 million. The film's performance will continue to be one to watch as audiences are clearly enjoying it more than the last few films in the Transformers franchise, but the film faces a lot of direct competition in Aquaman and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, which leaves open the question just how long the three films can thrive in theaters, playing side-by-side.
Internationally, Bumblebee is now playing in 55 markets from which it grossed an estimated $45.7 million this weekend for an overseas cume that now stands at $90 million. Highlights among new openings include a $7.8 million opening in South Korea followed by the UK ($6.3m), France ($4.1m), Brazil ($3m), Taiwan ($2m) and Hong Kong ($1.5m). The film will begin playing in China on January 4 followed by a March 22 release in Japan.
In fourth place, the aforementioned Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse followed what was a larger-than-expected drop last weekend with a +11.2% improvement this weekend, delivering an estimated $18.3 million to start its third week in release with a domestic cume that now tops $103 million. The film also added another $27.4 million internationally from 60 markets for a worldwide cume that now totals $213.2 million. Spider-Verse has still yet to open in Brazil where it will debut on January 10 followed by a March 28 opening in Japan.
Rounding out the top five is WB's The Mule, which saw an impressive +24% improvement compared to last weekend, resulting in an estimated $11.78 million weekend and a domestic cume that now tops $60 million.
Outside the top five, following its Christmas Day debut this past Tuesday, Annapurna's Vice entered its first weekend, playing in 2,442 locations from which it delivered an estimated $7.79 million. The performance is within range of pre-weekend expectations and slightly ahead of Mojo's pre-weekend forecast. Looking ahead, this clearly isn't looking to be the same kind of success as writer/director Adam McKay's The Big Short, which waited five weeks to play in as many theaters as Vice opened in, not to mention Big Short received an "A-" CinemaScore compared to the "C+" for Vice. The studio may have been better off with a platform approach, similar to Big Short, targeting a wide release on January 25, three days after the upcoming Oscar nomination announcement.
That being said, Vice is already Annapurna's highest grossing domestic release of all-time after just six days in release with the picture grossing $17.7 million thus far.
Also following its Christmas Day debut, Sony's comedy Holmes & Watson wasn't a hit with critics or audiences. The film received a "D+" CinemaScore from opening day crowds, signaling a steady decline in attendance, which was reflected in this weekend's performance with the film delivering an estimated $7.3 million from 2,776 locations. The film has now grossed just shy of $20 million after six days in release. To put that into perspective, previous comedies headlined by Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly saw Step Brothers open with $30.9 million ahead of a $100 million domestic run and Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby opened with $47 million before ending its domestic run just shy of $150 million.
Holmes & Watson also began its international rollout this weekend, playing in eight markets and delivering an estimated $4 million led by a $1.8 million opening in Australia and a $1.7 million debut in the UK. Upcoming key markets include Russia (Jan 24), Germany (Feb 7), Italy (Feb 14), Spain (Feb 22) and France (Feb 27).
In limited release, Reliance's release of Simmba debuted with an estimated $1.7 million from 300 locations ($5,751 PTA); Focus's release of On the Basis of Sex delivered an estimated $690k from 33 theaters ($20,909) after debuting on Christmas Day; Sony Classics's Stan & Ollie opened with $79,674 from five locations ($15,935); and Annapurna's Destroyer brought in an estimated $58,472 from three theaters ($19,491 PTA) after it too opened on Christmas Day.
Overall, the weekend's top twelve were mostly on par with last weekend, grossing just +0.8% more as 2018 will soon come to a close as the highest grossing year at the domestic box office of all-time. So far, 2018 has delivered nearly $11.7 billion in domestic ticket sales and will top 2016's previous record year by more than $400 million.
Next weekend will see us begin 2019 with the release of the Sony horror film Escape Room, debuting in ~2,500 locations.
You can check out all of this weekend's estimated results right here. Weekend actuals won't be available until January 2.
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