Long-range box office projections for Warner Bros. upcoming Aquaman film don’t bode well for the struggling DC Extended Universe. Aquaman is expected to bring in between $40 to $60 million on its opening weekend. This would be the worst opening weekend of the entire franchise.
The DC Extended Universe currently consists of Man of Steel, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman, and Justice League. Aquaman will become the sixth film in the franchise.
Here’s how the other five films fared on their opening weekends:
- Man of Steel: $117 million
- Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice: $166 million
- Suicide Squad: $133 million
- Wonder Woman: $103 million
- Justice League: $94 million
Now, an opening weekend doesn’t determine how well a film will perform, but it certainly sets the bar for it’s long-term success especially with a huge tentpole film like Aquaman. According to research done by Stephen Follows, just under half of movies between 1998 and 2017 had their highest grossing week in the first week of release. However, if you look at the top 50 grossing films of each year, “nine out of ten had their highest grossing week in their first week.”
This tends to play out for the DC Extended Universe films. Wonder Woman’s opening weekend was 25% of its domestic lifetime gross. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice raked in 50.3% of its lifetime domestic gross on opening weekend. Suicide Squad made 41.1%. Man of Steel made 40.1% and Justice League made 41%. If you look at the average, Aquaman is looking at making 39.5% of its total domestic gross on opening weekend. That could mean the film might only make between $101 million and $151 million domestically. That would be the worst performing film of the entire DC Extended Universe.
In fact, if you take that potential total domestic gross it would make the film only the 19th top earning DC Comics film at the low end or the 14th top earning film at the high end. It would rank below The LEGO Batman Movie and Batman Returns.
What makes this projection even worse is that Aquaman’s budget is approximately $160 million. That would mean Aquaman would be another film where Warner Bros. might lose money.
However, the low projection for Aquaman’s opening weekend could be in part to a lack of faith in Warner Bros. handling of the DC Extended Universe especially after the Justice League debacle and what appears to be the ousting of Zack Snyder. Warner Bros. will hope Aquaman performs similarly to Wonder Woman. It might have had a slow opening weekend, but it gained plenty of steam throughout the summer and would go on to rake in over $412 million domestically and $821 million worldwide. Another thing that could be affecting the low opening weekend numbers is the time of year. Aquaman is expected to come to theaters during Christmas time. It’s more than likely people will be spending time with their family during the opening weekend and could catch the film a week or two after it comes to theaters.
It’s quite possible Aquaman can pull this off as it has a charismatic lead in Jason Momoa and a rather good director in James Wan. Plus, if you haven’t seen the 5-minute extended trailer it looks rather good although there are some complaints about Aquaman being a little too stupid and dumb and the brunt of some humor.
Aquaman comes to theaters on December 21, 2018. Do you plan on checking it out opening weekend or will you wait and see?