Aquaman 2’s Domestic Box Office Swims Past MCU’s Biggest Flop

Summary

  • Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom has outperformed The Marvels at the box office, after raking in a further $26.3 million over the holiday weekend.
  • 2023 was a disappointing year for both DC and Marvel superhero movies, with many questioning if the genre has lost touch with audiences.
  • In 2024, both DC and Marvel franchises will take a break from theatrical releases, but there will still be superhero movies to look forward to, such as Deadpool 3 and Joker: Folie à Deux.


Although Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom may not be the billion dollar send off the DCEU originally hoped for, the Jason Momoa-led sequel has managed to outshine Marvel Studio’s latest offering. Although Wonka managed to win the New Year box office this weekend, figures from Box Office Mojo reveal that Momoa’s final outing as Aquaman pulled in another $26.3 million over the holiday weekend, which pushes its domestic total to $84.67 million, more than The Marvels managed in its entire run.

Aquaman 2

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom

The follow-up to the smash hit DC adventure Aquaman, starring Jason Momoa as the King of Atlantis.

Release Date
December 25, 2023

Director
James Wan

Rating
PG-13

In general, 2023 was a year that both Warner Bros. Pictures and Marvel Studios would probably like to forget when it comes to their respective comic book franchises’ box office performance. In fact, the year has been so dire for superhero movies – with the odd exception – that many have questioned whether the genre has become jaded and out of touch with what cinemagoers want.

After seeing the big reveal of Kang the Conqueror in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania fall flat at the beginning of the year, Marvel Studios saw a chink of light in the summer’s release of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. However, any hope of a sudden resurgence in box office numbers was truly dampened in November, when The Marvels broke many unwanted records and ultimately became the lowest grossing MCU movie of all-time.

Similarly, the final year of the DCEU didn’t reap many rewards. From Shazam: Fury of the Gods to The Flash, it was impossible for the franchise to gain any kind of hold at the box office. While The Flash just scraped into the Top 20 movies of the year, being overtaken by movies such as Jason Statham’s critically mauled Meg 2: The Trench, Five Nights at Freddy’s and Creed III, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom has already overtaken it thanks to a stronger than expected international haul.

Related: Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom: Despite the Drama, This Could Be the Best Superhero Movie of 2023


DC Studios and Marvel Studios Take a Break in 2024

Deadpool Ryan Reynolds holds his hands to his face
20th Century Fox

Although movie schedules have been stacked with superhero films from DC and Marvel for several years, 2024 sees both franchises almost entirely abandon theatrical releases. While this is something that many have agreed both franchises need, that does not mean that all superhero movies are off the cards.

Marvel Studios will just release one movie this year, with Deadpool 3 carrying the banner for the franchise, and fully expected to do so with one of the MCU’s biggest hits since Spider-Man: No Way Home. Additionally, Sony Pictures will release three of their Spider-Man Universe movies, with Madame Web, Kraven the Hunter and Venom 3 all currently slated to debut this year. While Sony’s recent Spider-Man related movies have not fared too well, perhaps the lack of other Marvel movies will help out the adjacent franchise.

For DC fans, although James Gunn and Peter Safran’s revamped DCU will not arrive until 2025, this year will see the released of Joker: Folie à Deux in October, bringing Joaquin Phoenix’s Arthur Fleck back to the big screen, with Lady Gaga coming along as Harley Quinn. While there is still much to be learned about the sequel, just like Deadpool 3, Warner Bros. will be hoping that the R-rated movie will put 2023’s box office woes well and truly in the past.

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