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Aquaman is a $748 million box office success

Its Chinese ticket sales have made it the third highest-earning movie in the DC Extended Universe.

Momoa Aqauman
Jason Momoa in Aquaman.
Warner Bros.
Alex Abad-Santos is a senior correspondent who explains what society obsesses over, from Marvel and movies to fitness and skin care. He came to Vox in 2014. Prior to that, he worked at the Atlantic.

Aquaman, the marine opera that never quits, is shaping up to be quite a success story for Warner Bros. In its second weekend in theaters, the Jason Momoa-led superhero flick made an estimated $51.6 million in North America and $85.4 million overseas. Its cumulative worldwide total is now sitting around $748.7 million, putting it ahead of its DC Extended Universe peers like Justice League, Man of Steel, and Suicide Squad.

It’s also only $72 million behind Wonder Woman’s worldwide haul of $821 million, a movie that was considered to be no-brainer hit for Warner Bros.

The big difference between Wonder Woman and Aquaman, however, is that the former made more than half of its worldwide haul in North America, while Aquaman is putting on a clinic at the foreign box office to the tune of $560 million — with ticket sales in China accounting for $232 million of that figure.

Aquaman shows that despite mixed reviews from critics and a domestic box office (barring some kind of miracle) that leaves a lot to be desired, it can still be considered a win for Warner Bros. and in itself is a testament to the power of getting a movies released in China (China restricts the number of foreign movies shown in the country.)

Earlier this fall, Venom, Sony’s antihero superhero silly bomb featuring a man-eating alien symbiote, also did well in China, making $270 million in the country and topping $800 million in its worldwide haul.

For Warner Bros., there was a lot of nervousness surrounding Aquaman because of how poorly Justice League did in 2017. The team-up movie was supposed to be an Avengers-like smash hit for the studio, but was instead a supersized flop.

Since then, Warner Bros.’s DC Comics movies have been mired in rumors of turmoil, with whispers but no official confirmation that both Henry Cavill (Superman) and Ben Affleck (Batman) are out. Add to that that Warner Bros. is still trying to figure out a consistent tone in its superhero movies, and it was very important to the studio for Aquaman not to bomb. And now that it’s delivered, it may give Warner Bros.’s DC Extended Universe some stability, or at the very least a sequel for the undersea superhero.

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