Box Office: 'Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom' Leads Christmas Day with $40 Million

The comic book sequel 'Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom' opened to a disappointing $40 million at the Christmas box office.


Disappointing Box Office Performance

Despite high expectations, 'Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom' fell short at the box office over the Christmas holiday. The film, which stars Jason Momoa as the King of Atlantis and is directed by James Wan, opened slightly below estimates with $27.7 million over the weekend and a disappointing $40 million through the four-day holiday frame.

These numbers are not promising for Warner Bros. and DC, as 'Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom' is shaping up to be another underperforming tentpole following the less-than-stellar performances of 'The Flash,' 'Shazam! Fury of the Gods,' and 'Blue Beetle' earlier this year.

With a production budget of $205 million, the film has a long way to go to break even and prove itself as a successful sequel.

Competition at the Box Office

'Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom' managed to secure the top spot at the box office, but there were several newcomers vying for audiences' attention. Universal and Illumination's animated family film 'Migration,' the romantic comedy 'Anyone but You,' and A24's sports biopic 'The Iron Claw' all debuted on Christmas Day. Three other films, including Warner's musical adaptation of 'The Color Purple,' Neon's racing drama 'Ferrari,' and George Clooney's inspirational story 'The Boys in the Boat,' also premiered on the same day.

While the studios behind these films have yet to report their opening day grosses, the lack of a clear standout hit or potential blockbuster has made for a lackluster holiday season at the box office. Movie theater owners remain hopeful that the volume of film releases will carry into January and lead to a more successful start to 2024.

Challenges for 'Aquaman 2'

Despite its top-ranking position at the box office, 'Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom' faces several challenges. The film has received negative reviews and mediocre audience scores, and it is struggling to perform well in the international market, particularly in China. Once a lucrative market for superhero movies, China has shown little interest in 'Aquaman 2,' contributing only $80 million to its global tally of $120 million.

In addition to these challenges, the film also faces uncertainty as it marks the end of the current iteration of the DC Extended Universe. With new bosses taking over the franchise, it remains to be seen how the underwater kingdom and its ruler, played by Jason Momoa, will fit into the future of the superhero universe.

Despite these obstacles, movie industry experts highlight the potential for December releases to have longevity in theaters, as was the case with the previous 'Aquaman' film. If 'Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom' can maintain a solid run into the new year, it may have a chance to overcome its current underperformance.