Warner Bros.’ highly anticipated superhero sequel, Aquaman and the Last Kingdom, has sputtered at the box office, delivering a disappointing $40 million-plus Christmas opening weekend that falls far short of expectations.
Industry experts had predicted a debut in the high $50 million to low $60 million range, but the film, despite boasting a $200 million budget and the return of Jason Momoa in the titular role, failed to captivate audiences.
The opening is roughly half of the $27 million opening day haul of the first Aquaman in 2018, and significantly lower than the recent $46.1 million debut of Marvel’s The Marvels.
Several factors seem to be contributing to the underwhelming performance. Reviews for Aquaman and the Last Kingdom have been mixed, with some praising the visuals and action sequences but criticizing the plot and lack of originality.
Additionally, the Christmas holiday weekend, with its competing demands of travel and gift-giving, can be a notoriously tough time for blockbusters.
The tepid debut of the movie adds to the growing concerns about superhero fatigue among audiences. While comic book adaptations continue to dominate the box office, there have been signs of audiences tiring of the formulaic genre. Recent flops like Morbius and The Flash have further fueled this debate.
However, it’s still too early to write off Aquaman and the Last Kingdom entirely. The film could see strong legs over the coming weeks, particularly with families on holiday break looking for entertainment options. Additionally, its international performance will be crucial to its overall success.