‘Aquaman’ drowns ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ at box office

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In a flood of recent releases, “Aquaman” simply swam previous “Mary Poppins Returns” and “Bumblebee” to guide the busy pre-Christmas weekend with an estimated $67.four million over the weekend, in line with studio estimates Sunday.

With out a “Star Wars” movie on the December schedule for the primary time in 4 years, a crowded slate of movies sought to capitalize on the profitable vacation interval in theaters.

The DC Comics superhero movie “Aquaman,” which price Warner Bros. $200 million to make, arrived already a juggernaut abroad, the place it has grossed greater than $400 million in three weeks of launch. Together with advance previews, the Jason Momoa-led “Aquaman” reeled in $72.1 million in U.S. and Canada theaters, bringing its world whole to $482.eight million.

“Aquaman,” directed by James Wan, has confirmed to be a stabilizing “Justice League” spinoff for Warner Bros. following bumpier DC releases outdoors of “Surprise Lady.” The movie garnered an A-minus Cinemascore from audiences.

For the studios, the weekend was as a lot about setting themselves up for Christmas to New Yr’s, when theaters are routinely packed by the week. With Christmas falling on a Tuesday, studio executives mentioned the weekend was an unpredictable and distraction-filled one, competing with among the busiest purchasing days of the yr.

“We actually kick off beginning Tuesday,” mentioned Warner Bros. distribution chief Jeff Goldstein, who mentioned the “Aquaman” efficiency got here in simply above the studio’s $65 million forecast. “With children not likely returning to high school till January 7, this aligns the celebrities for us in a very optimistic method.”

Returns have been extra modest for Disney’s “Mary Poppins” sequel and Paramount’s “Transformers” spinoff, although every had cause to count on robust enterprise by the vacations.

“Mary Poppins Returns,” starring Emily Blunt and directed by Rob Marshall, debuted with $22.2 million over the weekend and $31 million since opening Wednesday. That was on the low facet of expectations for the musical, which price $130 million to make.

“Might Poppins Returns,” which co-stars Lin-Manuel Miranda, will rely closely on legs by the vacation season. On its facet are good if not spectacular critiques (77 p.c recent on Rotten Tomatoes), an A-minus CinemaScore from moviegoers and 4 Golden Globe nominations.

“It is a fantastic weekend to begin your self off on a launch pad into the vacation interval,” mentioned Cathleen Taff, head of distribution for Disney. “We’re trying ahead to nice phrase of mouth constructing over the subsequent few weeks. And we’re trying ahead to a long term.”

“Poppins” nonetheless narrowly edged “Bumblebee,” which opened with $21 million. That, too, is a smooth starting for a movie that price about $135 million to make after tax credit. It is also far off the tempo of the “Transformers” movies, the final of which (“Transformers: The Final Knight”) debuted with $44.7 million in summer season 2017.

However “Bumblebee,” a “Transformers” prequel directed by Travis Knight and starring Hailee Steinfeld, has one thing the Michael Bay movies by no means had: good critiques. “Bumblebee” was the weekend’s most acclaimed new large launch with a 94 p.c recent ranking on Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences additionally gave it an A-minus CinemaScore.

“The pre-Christmas preoccupation for moviegoers affected everybody. All films have been impacted barely by that,” mentioned Kyle Davies, head of distribution for Paramount. “It would not concern me. We performed very well with nice reactions. The sport plan has all the time been that we’re now beginning that play interval the place individuals go a number of occasions over the subsequent few weeks, and that is the entire level.”

“To me, this weekend was a gown rehearsal for the large push that begins Christmas Day,” added Davies.

Additionally within the combine is Sony’s well-reviewed “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” which slid to fourth in its second week with $16.7 million in ticket gross sales. The movie additionally made among the best debuts for an animated launch in China the place it was no. 1, grossing $26.1 million over the weekend.

Clint Eastwood’s “The Mule” added $9.three million in its sophomore body, bringing its two-week whole to $35 million. Bradley Cooper, who co-stars in “The Mule,” might additionally rejoice his “A Star Is Born” crossing $200 million domestically.

Largely neglected within the onslaught at theaters was STXfilms’ “Second Act,” starring Jennifer Lopez. The romantic comedy debuted with an estimated $6.5 million in 2,607 places, drawing an viewers that was 70 p.c feminine.

However the weekend’s actual flop was “Welcome to Marwen,” the Robert Zemeckis-directed fantastical drama starring Steve Carell as an imaginative man whose scale mannequin city helps him rehabilitate after a trauma. The movie, which price not less than $40 million to make, earned simply $2.three million in 1,900 theaters. It is the second straight flop for Common (which teamed with DreamWorks for “Marwen”) following “Mortal Engines.” That $100 million movie debuted final weekend with $7.5 million movie in ticket gross sales.

But the weekend managed to just about equal the field workplace of the identical weekend final yr when “The Final Jedi” was in its second week of launch and “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” opened. Ticket gross sales for the “Star Wars”-less weekend have been down a mere 2.1 p.c, in line with Comscore.

Yr to this point, the home field workplace is up 7.5 p.c and was anticipated to simply eke previous 2016’s document $11.38 billion someday late Sunday or early Monday, mentioned Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for Comscore.

“The collective and cumulative energy of those newcomers, notably ‘Aquaman,’ and an enormous slate of holdovers gave us a stronger weekend than anybody imagined,” Dergarabedian mentioned. “A superhero film in December could make up for not having a ‘Star Wars’ film in December.”

Estimated ticket gross sales for Friday by Sunday at worldwide theaters (excluding the U.S. and Canada), in line with Comscore:

1. “Aquaman,” $67.four million ($91.three million worldwide).

2. “Mary Poppins Returns,” $22.2 million.

three. “Bumblebee,” $21 million ($31.1 million worldwide).

four. “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” $16.7 million ($38 million worldwide).

5. “The Mule,” $9.three million.

6. “The Grinch,” $eight.2 million ($23.7 million worldwide).

7. “Second Act,” $6.5 million.

eight. “Ralph Breaks the Web,” $four.6 million ($9.three million worldwide).

9. “Welcome to Marwen,” $2.four million.

10. “Mary Queen of Scots,” $2.2 million.

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Estimated ticket gross sales for Friday by Sunday at worldwide theaters (excluding the U.S. and Canada), in line with Comscore:

1. “Aquaman,” $91.three million.

2. “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” $38 million.

three. “Bumblebee,” $31.1 million.

four. “The Grinch,” $23.7 million.

5. “Mary Poppins Returns,” $20.three million.

6. “Bohemian Rhapsody,” $15 million.

7. “Airpocalypse,” $12.9 million.

eight. “Ralph Breaks the Web,” $9.three million.

9. “Kung Fu Monster,” $eight.1 million.

10. “The Drug King,” $7.5 million.

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