On the weekend before Christmas, ‘Aquaman’ sequel drifts to first

This image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Jason Momoa in a scene from "Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom." (Warner Bros. Pictures via AP)

“Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” led a crowd of new releases at the box office on the weekend before Christmas Monday. The DC and Warner Bros. superhero sequel starring Jason Momoa earned an estimated $28.1 million in its first three days of release in 3,706 locations in North America, according to studio estimates Sunday. By Monday it is projected to have around $40 million in domestic ticket sales.

Despite many new offerings — including the family friendly animated film ”Migration,” the R-rated romantic comedy “Anyone But You,” the wrestling tragedy ” The Iron Claw ” and a ghostly tearjerker in ” All of Us Strangers ” — this will go down as a quieter pre-holiday frame at the box office. Moviegoing audiences perhaps just had other priorities than going to the cinema.


It is never great for Hollywood or theaters when Christmas Eve falls on a prime weekend day, but the last time Christmas was on a Monday, in 2017, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” dominated the four-day charts with $71.5 million from its second weekend.

On Christmas Day, which often brings big crowds back to the theaters, they’ll be joined by more new films, including the big budget musical adaptation of “The Color Purple,” Michael Mann’s racing film ”Ferrari” and George Clooney’s adaptation of the rowing drama “The Boys in the Boat.” All should get a boost between Christmas and New Years, too, a traditionally lucrative time for movie theaters.

But none will compare some of the biggest holiday earners, like “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” “Avatar” and “Spider-Man: No Way Home.” It was not lost on social media that this was the weekend that Patty Jenkins’ Star Wars movie “Rogue Squadron” was supposed to come out.

“Seven openers in the course of four days is unusual,” said Paul Dergarabedian, the senior media analyst for Comscore.

Its studio, Warner Bros. also has the No. 2 movie of the weekend, ”Wonka” and one of the major Christmas openings, “The Color Purple,” a buffet of big movies that was sorely needed by theaters – especially without no new movie from the Walt Disney Company or Paramount. By Monday, Warner Bros. will likely have three spots in the top five.

Third place went to Illumination and Universal’s “Migration,” a PG-rated animated adventure about a family of mallards traveling South. Voice actors include Kumail Najiani, Elizabeth Banks and Awkwafina.

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