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HomeReviews Films‘Aquaman 2’ $40M Opening, ‘Wonka’ Eyes $31M – Deadline

‘Aquaman 2’ $40M Opening, ‘Wonka’ Eyes $31M – Deadline

FRIDAY AFTERNOON: Right now, it’s looking like Warner Bros/DC’s Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom will arrive at $40M over 4-days, which is where tracking had it.

That said, Warners can boast, and CEO David Zaslav can be happy, in having the top two films at the box office along with Wonka‘s second weekend in the No. 2 spot with a projected $31M over the Dec. 22-25 span. Friday/previews for Aquaman 2 is $14M with a 3-day of $30M at 3,706 theaters. Wonka‘s second Friday is $7M (-51%), which translates to a 3-day of $22M at 4,213 theaters. We’re hearing that Color Purple‘s Christmas Day gross could be around $10M-$12M, which would put it in the No. 4 spot behind Illumination and Universal’s Migration which is looking at $18M at 3,761 theaters; a better than expected result than the $10M-$12M we were hearing about.

With grosses like these, it’s crystal clear this is the end of the Zack Snyder-borne era of DC with Aquaman 2. Even so, it’s proper to see where ticket sales are in a week. Holiday moviegoers may just want to check their brains at the door and savor this installment in 3D. The sequel currently counts a 76% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, but note that the first movie was 72%.

Social media chatter per RelishMix is mixed on Aquaman 2 with a social media universe across TikTok, Instagram, X, Facebook and YouTube of 334.3M. That social media count is -48% below Superhero social media norms per the analytics company. Other 300 social media universe titles include Ant-Man and the Wasp with 341.8M which opened to $758M and Bumblebee at 350.3M which opened to $30M.

Everything is relative: In the millennium, Christmas also fell on a Monday in 2000, 2006, and 2017. If Aquaman 2 hits $40M that’s better than the results of other top 4-day openers during those years, i.e. 2017’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle ($36.1M), 2006’s Night at the Museum ($30.4M) and 2000’s Cast Away ($28.8M), however, it’s tremendously lower than the second weekend of Star Wars: The Last Jedi ($71.5M) which led all titles during the Christmas 4-day of 2017. On one hand, we can say that Aquaman 2 is doing what it’s suppose to do for a weekend where Christmas falls on a Monday. On another hand, it’s no massive draw like Star Wars (we always knew that).

Migrations Friday and previews is looking like $6M with a 3-day of $13.2M in third. No RT audience score yet.

Currently fourth is rather close between three titles. Columbia Pictures’ Anyone But You is seeing a $3M Friday, $6.1M 3-day and $8.5M 4-day. No RT audience score yet. The movie cost $25M before P&A, co-financed by SK Global Entertainment and TSG Entertainment

Moksha Movies and Pathyangira Cinemas’ gang war movie Salaar Part 1: Ceasefire is looking at $3.9M today, 3-day of $6.6M and 4-day of $8.4M at 750 sites.

A24’s The Iron Claw, which cost $15M net before P&A, is seeing a Friday of $2.5M, 3-day $5.7M and 4-day of $8.3M.

Jason Momoa in 'Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom'

Jason Momoa in ‘Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom’

Warner Bros Pictures/Everett Collection

FRIDAY AM: Warner Bros/DC’s Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom posted $4.5M last night at 3,400 locations while Illumination/Universal’s Migration did $1.5M in what is expected to be a slow weekend at the 4-day Christmas box office. That’s largely due to the fact that there isn’t a massive want-to-see movie in the marketplace, Aquaman 2 weighted down by awful reviews at 36% on Rotten Tomatoes and an outlook of $40M plus-or-minus over four-days.

Previews started at 3PM for Aquaman 2 while Migration started at 2PM. Comscore says that 43% K-12 schools were on break and 90% colleges out yesterday. Those numbers rise respectively to 66%/93% today before going to 100% next week.

Already, the sequel’s previews are less than that of Disney/Marvel Studios’ dud The Marvels which did $6.6M before a 3-day of $46.1M, the lowest start ever for a Marvel movie. That said, Aquaman 2‘s previews are higher than that of DC’s earlier bomb Shazam: Fury of the Gods ($3.4M Thursday night, $11.7M Friday, and 3-day of $30.1M). By comparison, DC’s The Flash, which was plagued with bad headlines about its star Ezra Miller and a cast that didn’t publicize the film in a big way looks like a massive hit with $9.7M previews, a $24.1M Friday and $55M 3-day.

Timothée Chalamet in ‘Wonka’

Warner Bros Pictures/Everett Collection

The one advantage that Aquaman 2 has is that it is the bigger marquee draw over the holiday weekend, however, Warner Bros is in competition with itself as the other golden ticket at the box office, Wonka, made $4.2M at 4,203 yesterday –almost as much as Aquaman 2, for a first week’s haul of $57.5M. The notion is that the Timothee Chalamet movie will ease to $20M+ over the four days.

General audiences in Comscore/Screen Engine PostTrak exits did not like Aquaman 2 with 3 stars last night and a 50% recommend, and that’s the time when the big fans shows up. Ugh. However, parents gave it 5 stars (slightly more moms at 51%) and kids under 12 gave it 4 stars (66% boys), so perhaps they save this movie in the end.

With Christmas on Monday, business for all movies will be significantly better at that point in time and thereafter. With Christmas Eve, a downer day at the B.O., on Sunday, brace yourselves for lower than expected results for everybody. The first Aquaman was slow out of the gate back when it opened, grossing $136.7M in its first seven days back during the holidays 2018 (Christmas Day fell on a Tuesday), and $67.8M over 3-days. However, the James Wan directed sequel isn’t expected to have the same momentum.

'Migration' review

‘Migration’

Illumination/Everett Collection

Migration‘s $1.5M at 3,050 sites is less than Disney’s Tuesday pre-Thanksgiving previews of Wish which did $2.3M ($31.6M 5-day). Granted, the latter is girl-leaning and the Illumination title is more boys at 60%. Other comps for Migration include DreamWorks Animation’s Trolls Band Together ($1.3M previews, $9.3M Friday and $30M opening weekend) as well as The Bad Guys ($1.15M, $7.9M Friday, and $23.95M opening). Critics aren’t entirely turning their backs on this original animation movie at 69% fresh, nor are audiences with PostTrak scores of 4 1/2 stars for parents and 5 stars for kids under 12. General moviegoers didn’t have the patience for this Benjamin Renner and Guylo Homsy directed animated film about ducks at 3 1/2 stars and 51%. The movie is expected to post around $10M+ this weekend, but as we all know, don’t underestimate family animated movies at this time of year which can leg out big time. Many are wondering whether we’re bound to give this movie a pass in comparison to Wish: Hello, Migration was way cheaper at $72M before production costs versus Wish‘s $175M.

'Anyone but You' teaser with Sydney Sweeney and Glen Powell

Glen Powell and Sydney Sweeney in ‘Anyone but You’

Sony

Columbia Pictures’ Sydney Sweeney and Glen Powell R-rated romantic comedy Anyone But You did $1.2M at 2,723 locations that began at 2PM Thursday. The movie is expected to do between $7M-$10M over 4-days. Last night’s previews are a tad higher than that of the George Clooney-Julia Roberts romantic comedy, Ticket to Paradise, which filed $1.1M before a $6.4M Friday and $16.1M opening. Critics aren’t that far apart between Ticket which they slammed at 57% and Anyone But You which they stuck their tongues out at 48%. Hopefully prospective moviegoers don’t read reviews and listen to their friends as Thursday’s audience gave the Will Gluck-directed movie 4 stars and a 57% recommend. As expected, women showed up at 68%, but women over 25, who repped 29% of ticket buyers, loved the movie at 92%.

The Iron Claw

Zac Efron on the attack in ‘The Iron Claw’

A24

Meanwhile, A24’s The Iron Claw at 2,100 theaters posted $670K from previews that started at 4PM. That movie is expected do in the high single digits over the 4-day holiday. Out of the gate PostTrak audiences graded the Zac Efron-Jeremy Allen White wrestling drama 4 1/2 stars and 76% recommend. Guys over 25 were the biggest draw yesterday at 44%, with women over 25 and men under 25 even at 22% apiece. However, guys under 25 gave the Sean Durkin directed and written movie its best grades at a great 97%.

Elsewhere yesterday among regular ranked movies, after Wonka there was Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games: Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes which saw a $944K fifth Thursday (-8% from Wednesday) at 3,291 theaters, a $9.9M fifth weekend and $149.3M running total.

GKIDS Studio Ghibli’s The Boy and the Heron saw a second Thursday of $896K (-16%), second week of $9.4M at 2,325 theaters and a running total of $27.4M.

Yash Raj Films’ Dunki opened yesterday to an estimated $871K at 686 locations. The Rajkumar Hirani directed movie follows four friends and their quest to reach foreign shores, charting their arduous yet life-changing journey.

Toho’s Godzilla Minus One booked at 2,622 theaters posted an estimated third Thursday of $741K (-13%) in fifth and a third week of $8.2M and running total of $37.6M.

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