Aquaman has made a splash at the North American box office with a $67.4 million opening weekend.
The DC Comics blockbuster, starring Jason Momoa as the titular superhero, easily secured the number one spot, fending off competition from fellow new releases Mary Poppins Returns and Transformers franchise film Bumblebee.
Directed by James Wan, Aquaman, which cost Warner Bros. bosses $200 million to make, had already proven to be a hit with fans internationally, debuting in a number of territories earlier this month (Dec18), and its popularity in the U.S. and Canada has now boosted its global earnings to $482.8 million to date.
“This is a tremendous victory,” Jeff Goldstein, president of distribution for Warner Bros., told The Hollywood Reporter. “The fact that we’re able to get to this big number when people are tied up with holiday preparations is significant.”
Early estimates released on Sunday (23Dec18) reveal Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns, starring Emily Blunt as the beloved nanny, had just edged out Bumblebee to take second place in North America with a $22.2 million gross.
The movie musical’s initial earnings mark one of the smallest debuts for Disney projects in 2018, but studio officials are confident the sequel to the 1964 classic, which originally featured Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke, will continue to draw audiences in the weeks to come.
“We weren’t aiming for the biggest opening weekend right out of the gate. Given how musicals play, it’s the perfect launching pad,” Cathleen Taff, Disney’s head of domestic distribution, explained to The Associated Press. “We think it has something for everybody. It sets us up for a good holiday period.”
Bumblebee lands in third place with an estimated $20.9 million, ahead of last week’s top film, the animated Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, slips to number four.
Clint Eastwood’s The Mule rounds out the new top five.
Meanwhile, there wasn’t great news for Jennifer Lopez – her new romantic comedy opens at seven with a $6.5 million gross, while Steve Carell’s Welcome to Marwen, directed by Robert Zemeckis, barely made a dent in the top 10, launching at nine with just $2.4 million after receiving a string of negative reviews.