First off, Aquaman earned $19.7 million in its first two days in (non-China) overseas markets. The Jason Momoa/Amber Heard superhero flick earned $1.3m in both Russia and Brazil while earning $1.4m in Mexico. They have seven more markets opening today (including India) as they enter the weekend in 43 overseas territories. While it doesn’t open in North America until next week, WB is hosting an Atom Tickets/Amazon Prime-sponsored sneak preview nationwide tomorrow night. We’ll have a clearer idea of where the film stands overseas by Sunday, but it’s already showing incredible legs in China.

The film earned another $12.51 million in China on its second Friday, dropping a stunningly small (for a big Hollywood movie playing in China) 48% from its $24.5m opening day. That gives the film a $147.94m eight-day cume and puts it on a path for a possible $53m (-44%) second weekend and a $188m ten-day cume. If that comes to pass, it’ll be a smaller second-weekend dip than Venom (-53%), Wonder Woman (-64%), Captain America: Civil War (-67%), Justice League ($69%), Avengers: Infinity War (-73%) and Batman v Superman (-78%). So, yeah, folks over there like it and are telling their friends.

Its potential $188 million cume will also be above the $180m final cume of Civil War, making Aquaman the fourth-biggest Hollywood superhero movie of all time. It’ll be behind only Avengers: Age of Ultron ($240m in 2015), Venom ($267m in 2018) and Avengers: Infinity War ($360m in 2018). So, barring a fluke in either direction, it’s surely going to pass Age of Ultron and will probably end up between Venom and Infinity War. We’ve had two solo superhero flicks that have, just this season, done so much better than the conventional $90m-$120m normal.

This is evidence that either Chinese audiences are embracing the comic book superhero movie or that Aquaman and Venom are weird enough and fantastical enough to appeal to fantasy fans with a less inherent interest in superheroes. Either way, this means that Aquaman will enter is overseas global launch (China Film Group went a week early) with around $168 million ($148m in China and $19m overseas) and should be over $200m worldwide by the end of the day. No, I’m not answering the “Will Aquaman cross $1 billion worldwide?!” question quite yet, if only because I don’t think that should be the bar for success.

But it does now stand a shot at displacing Venom ($853 million-and-counting) to be the biggest “under-$1 billion” earner of the year. Considering the extent to which audiences, in China and elsewhere, are embracing unapologetic weirdness in their IP-specific entertainments, Colin Trevorrow might want to rethink that “no dino attacks in the big city” promise in regards to Jurassic World 3. Audiences can and will embrace insane dino carnage even if the dinos don’t wield machine guns. Oh, and if Aquaman 2 can give me my dolphin fight, that would be super!

I've studied the film industry, both academically and informally, and with an emphasis in box office analysis, for 28 years. I have extensively written about all of said subjects for the last ten years. My outlets for film criticism, box office commentary, and film-skewing s… MORE

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