Box-Office Milestone: 'Aquaman' Joins Billion-Dollar Club
It's official: James Wan's Aquaman has joined the billion-dollar club at the worldwide box office.
The feat was achieved on Saturday in a notable win for Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment, whose universe of superhero films has struggled to match the blockbuster success of Disney and Marvel's shared superhero universe since the end of Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy (Wonder Woman being a major exception).
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Aquaman, which opened in late December, finished Sunday with a worldwide total of $1.02 billion, including $288 million domestically and $742 million internationally.
Starring Jason Momoa, Aquaman is the first DC title to cross $1 billion since Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises in 2012, and only the third DC title ever to do so behind Dark Knight Rises ($1.084 billion) and The Dark Knight ($1.005 billion). Aquaman has now passed the latter.
"Firstly, massive LOVE and THANK YOU to the fans and audiences around the world," Wan said in a statement (he was already a member of the billion-dollar club, thanks to Furious 7). "I'll forever be indebted to Jason for turning Aquaman into one of the coolest, cinematic superheroes ever, and becoming the gold standard for this character for generations to come."
Overall, Aquaman is the fifth Warners film to lay claim to the milestone behind the last two Dark Knight pics, the final Harry Potter movie ($1.34 billion) and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey ($1.02 billion), not adjusted for inflation. That number grows to six if counting New Line's 2003 effort The Lord of The Rings ($1.13 billion). (New Line was a sister company at the time prior to merging with Warner Bros. in 2008).
In terms of the genre itself, Aquaman is the ninth live-action superhero movie to become a member of the billion-dollar club, and tenth if including Disney and Pixar's animated event pic Incredibles 2 ($1.243 billion).
Marvel Studios and Disney hold six of the live-action superhero slots, led by Avengers: Infinity War ($2.048 billion) and followed by The Avengers ($1.519 billion), Avengers: Age of Ultron ($1.405 billion), Black Panther ($1.347 billion), Iron Man 3 ($1.215 billion) and Captain America: Civil War ($1.153 billion).
In terms of other DC titles in the post-Nolan era, Man of Steel topped out at $668 million globally, followed by Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice ($873.6 million), Suicide Squad ($746.8 million), Wonder Woman ($821.8 million) and Justice League ($657.9 million).
Aquaman's domestic gross isn't likely to match that of Wonder Woman, whose global tally included a huge $421 million from North America.
Wan's film co-stars Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe, Nicole Kidman, Patrick Wilson and Dolph Lundgren.
Jan. 13, 6:30 p.m. Updated to include Avengers: Age of Ultron.
by Sheraz Farooqi
by Graeme McMillan