8:26am PT by Pamela McClintock
Box Office: 'Aquaman' Targets Heroic Pre-Christmas Debut of $65M
James Wan's Aquaman, starring Jason Momoa in the titular role, is tracking for a strong U.S. debut of $65 million-plus at the pre-Christmas box office, according to insiders at Warner Bros.
The DC Entertainment superhero pic is set to go up against Disney's Mary Poppins Returns and Transformers spinoff Bumblebee over the Dec. 21-23 weekend, and should easily top the chart for the three days. The trio of films came on tracking Thursday.
Save for the recent Star Wars pics, the year-end holiday corridor isn't known for big openings; rather, movies can enjoy a huge multiple between Christmas Day and New Year's Day. Box-office analysts also advise that tracking becomes very difficult during this period because of staggered rollouts, and on which day of the week Dec. 25 actually falls (this year, Christmas is on a Tuesday).
Disney's Mary Poppins Returns, for example, is set to bow Dec. 19, a Wednesday. The pic, starring Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda, is likewise looking like a Christmas winner. Tracking suggests it could pull in $35 million to $40 million in its first five days, and an impressive $55 million to $60 million through Dec. 25.
If it indeed earns $65 million in its first weekend — one of the top domestic debuts for that time of year — Aquaman should swim to as much as $100 million for the Friday-Tuesday corridor.
Paramount's Bumblebee is tracking for a solid weekend start of $25 million and a five-day launch of $35 million. The spinoff stars Hailee Steinfeld.
While Christmas Eve day is notoriously quiet at the multiplex, traffic picks up in earnest on the afternoon of the 25th and stays strong throughout the week.
In order to help build word of mouth, Warner Bros. will sneak Aquaman in hundred of theaters on the evening of Dec. 15 exclusively for Amazon Prime members.
Nov. 29, 10:45 a.m. Updated with revised tracking estimates.