'Aquaman 2' opens to $80 million overseas, 'Wonka' milestone

„Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” opened to $80 million at the international box office, which isn't great considering that ticket sales are on par with big-budget superhero disappointments like „The Flash,” „The Marvel's” and „Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantum of Solace.”

The comic book sequel, starring Jason Momoa as the king of Atlantis and directed by James Wan, has grossed $120 million worldwide to launch, including a weak $40 million in North America. The Warner Bros. and DC film cost $205 million to produce and follows misfires this year for DC, including „The Flash,” „Shazam! Wrath of the Gods” and „Blue Beetle.”

Beyond terrible reviews and mediocre audience scores, “Aquaman 2″ has struggled as it has been positioned as a lame duck in the DC Extended Universe. It's the final installment before DC's new bosses, James Gunn and Peter Safran, reset the sprawling superhero universe… maybe without Momoa as ruler of the underwater kingdom.

At a time when comic book movies can do no wrong at the box office, the first film of 2018, “Aquaman,” debuted. It was a huge commercial success with $816 million internationally and $1.14 billion worldwide. The original was especially big in China, opening to $93 million and ending its run with $292 million. But Hollywood movies haven't worked in China since the pandemic, and „The Lost Kingdom” is no exception. The sequel didn't come close to the popularity of the original, bringing in just $30 million over the weekend from 28,140 screens. Outside of the Middle Kingdom, the other top international markets were Mexico with $5 million, Indonesia with $3.6 million, France with $3.2 million and the UK with $3 million.

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„Today, the Chinese market is a fraction of what it was for American movies,” said David A., who runs film consultancy Franchise Entertainment Research. Cross says. „Overall, overseas business should still be good, not outstanding.”

Warners may not have burst the bubble for „Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom,” but the studio still has plenty to celebrate with „Wonka,” which surpassed $250 million two weeks after its release.

The Timothée Chalamet prequel story, starring the eccentric chocolatier Willy Wonka, added $33.2 million from 77 international markets, down 33% from the previous weekend. „Wonka” has grossed $171.3 million overseas and $254.9 million to date. That's a sweet number since the film cost $100 million.

Elsewhere, Universal and Illumination's animated comedy “Migration” took in $22 million at the international box office after two weeks of release. It opened with $17 million in North America over the four-day holiday, bringing its worldwide total to $34 million. The film, written by Mike White and featuring a voice cast of Kumail Nanjiani, Elizabeth Banks and Awkwafina, cost a reasonable $70 million. But the studio hopes „Migration” will enjoy the staying power of recent family films like „Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” and Pixar's „Elemental.” The adventure about ducks who get lost on their way south in winter has generated positive reviews and audience scores, which bodes well for its holiday run.

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