Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom has faced a rocky production journey, leading to numerous changes in its release date. In addition to production challenges, the sequel is known to have received poor results in test screenings, leading to necessary reshoots. The Hollywood Reporter, however, reports that the actual number of reshoots was significantly higher than what was initially communicated.
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom has undergone three reshoots, including one that ended just last month, six months before the film’s December release date.
Last month, Aquman and the Lost Kingdom reportedly underwent a series of reshoots in New Zealand, featuring stars Jason Momoa and Patrick Wilson. This constitutes the sequel’s third set of reshoots, an unusual occurrence even for a film of this magnitude. Previous rounds of reshoots failed to improve its performance in test screenings, likely instigating this recent reshoot.
The film greenlit under a Toby Emmerich-Led Warner Bros. and DC film head Walter Hamada, wrapped principal photography in January 2022. With the merger of Warner Bros. and Discovery, Emmerich stepped down and Hamada was given the boot. Amidst this shakeup, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom commenced test screenings, the results of which were disappointingly lackluster.
Following the initial round of test screenings, Warner’s new film executives, Michael De Luca, and Pamela Abdy, took charge of DC operations until a replacement for Hamada could be found under the direction of Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav.
Reportedly, Abdy immersed herself creatively in the project, even contributing to the editing of a cut. However, this revised version scored lower in test screenings than its predecessor, leading to further reshoots for Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.
Since the second round of reshoots, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom has undergone numerous additional test screenings, all of which have received low scores. At this point, James Gunn and Peter Safron were deeply involved in their roles as co-heads of the new DC Studios. Both are said to have weighed in on the latest version of the film.
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom has had a troubled production, going through the pandemic, a corporate merger, and a change of direction for the entire franchise.
Even as Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom signifies the conclusion of the DC Extended Universe, the persistent financial backing from Warner Bros. Discovery is noteworthy. By now, the film’s expenses have likely surpassed its initial greenlit budget of $205 million. This unflinching financial support demonstrates the studio’s confidence in the project, which should offer some reassurance to fans.
Hopefully, the extensive time and resources invested in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom will lead to another substantial success for Warner Bros. Discovery come December 20, 2023, provided there are no further delays.
The original film achieved outstanding box office success, amassing over $1.1 billion globally. As it stands, it is the highest-grossing film to emerge from the DCEU.
Aquaman was the highest grossing DCEU film, surpassing Justice League, Man of Steel, and Wonder Woman.
James Wan directed Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom which stars Jason Momoa, Patrick Wilson, Amber Heard, Dolph Lungren, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Nicole Kidman, Indya Moore, Randall Park, and Ben Affleck.
In the film, Aquaman reluctantly joins forces with an unexpected companion to safeguard Atlantis. The formation of this alliance becomes essential due to the revival of an old force that poses a grave threat to Atlantis and the entire world.