Aquaman And The Lost Kingdom Wraps Up DCEU and 2023 Box Office Quietly

Patrick Wilson and Jason Momoa star in "Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom"

“Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” has made a rather modest start at the US box office, with Thursday previews bringing in just $4.5 million. This lukewarm reception is compounded by the film’s current critical standing, with a mere 36% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Projections for the upcoming three-day domestic weekend suggest the film might only rake in around $35 million, or even less, indicating another underwhelming outing for Warner Bros. Discovery’s DCEU.

This cinematic venture not only serves as the concluding chapter of WBD’s ambitious superhero universe but also signals the end of Jason Momoa’s reign as the King of Atlantis. Following this film, the torch of DC superhero movies will be passed on to James Gunn and Peter Safran, who are slated to helm the reboot with “Superman: Legacy” in 2025.

While there’s a possibility that international box office numbers could salvage the film’s performance, it’s improbable that “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” will come close to replicating the staggering success of its predecessor. The 2017 installment of “Aquaman” amassed a whopping $1.15 billion globally.

Aquaman: Jason Momoa, Amber Heard celebrate end of filming

In terms of advanced ticket sales, China shows some promise compared to certain Marvel films, albeit falling short of the original “Aquaman’s” box office prowess. Notably, while the film’s performance is being compared to “The Marvels” and “The Batman,” it’s worth noting that both have experienced varying degrees of success in the Middle Kingdom. “The Batman,” for instance, earned $25 million, a far cry from the $291.8 million grossed by the first “Aquaman,” while “The Marvels” underperformed with a studio-low $205 million.

The shift in critical reception for “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” marks a notable reversal of fortune for a franchise that once enjoyed a position among the elite entries in the DCEU. Its predecessor managed to make a splash with a solid $67 million debut domestically, eventually swelling to $335 million during the 2017 holiday season and beyond in North America alone. However, the tepid early response to the latest installment suggests that the tides may be turning for this once-promising franchise.

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