Aquaman Amber Heard Jason Momoa
More info i
Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures/DC Entertainment

Box office: Aquaman harpoons top spot with $72 million; Mary Poppins defeats Bumblebee for No. 2

Contributed by
Dec 23, 2018, 10:47 AM EST

The domestic box office got all wet this weekend thanks to the wide release of James Wan's live-action Aquaman, which is swimming toward the No. 1 spot with a refreshing $72 million from 4,125 domestic theaters. Thanks to international sales and Amazon Prime previews, the latest DCEU installment has already netted more than $360 million across the world.

Starring Jason Momoa as Arthur Curry, Aquaman takes place after the events of Justice League, but beyond one throwaway line about that movie, the film is very much a standalone feature.

Keeping a low profile on land (saving the occasional submarine), Arthur is recruited by Princess Mera (Amber Heard) to challenge his half-brother, King Orm (Patrick Wilson), for the Atlantean throne—Orm wants to wage a deadly war against the surface world. Willem Dafoe, Nicole Kidman, Dolph Lundgren, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, and Julie Andrews also star in the movie.

Paramount's Bumblebee and Disney's Mary Poppins Returns were battling it out for the second spot, but ol' Mary (directed by Rob Marshall) won out with $22.2 million. The Disney sequel, more than 50 years in the making, opened Wednesday, Dec. 19, raking in a little over $15 million before the weekend. The Transformers spinoff (directed by Laika's Travis Knight) was expected to ensnare $22 million, but only got $21 million in the end, nabbing the third spot at the domestic weekend box office.

Bumblebee and Mary Poppins Returns

Credit: Paramount Pictures/Disney

Taking heavy inspiration from early Spielberg movies like E.T., Bumblebee is set in the late 1980s and centers around a young girl (Hailee Steinfeld) forming a close bond with the eponymous alien robot. Mary Poppins Returns, taking place during the Great Depression, finds the magical British nanny (Emily Blunt) returning to Cherry Tree Lane in order to care for the now-grown-up Banks children (Emily Mortimer and Ben Whishaw) and their extended family.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse should web the fourth spot during its second weekend with an estimated $16.5 million. Since debuting last week, the animated Spidey film has made over $52 million domestically and more than $73 million globally.

Spider-Man Into the Spider-Verse

Credit: Sony Pictures Animation

In sixth place, Illumination's animated take on Dr. Seuss's The Grinch stole another $8.2 million, the domestic and global totals now at $253.2 million and $422.5 million, respectively.

Elsewhere, Peter Jackson's Mortal Engines continues to flop, with just $1.7 million in its second weekend at the box office. That's a 77% drop since it opened—the movie is expected to lose more than $100 million in the long run. With a current domestic total of $11.9 million and a global one of $52 million, the movie may not even make back its budget, which is estimated at $100 million - $150 million. If anything, it will only just break even.

(via The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, & Box Office Mojo)