It’s no secret that the DCEU has had more misses than hits, and that’s exactly why James Gunn is rebooting it. Aquaman: The Lost Kingdom is going to be the last DC film before the big reboot, and considering that the first film from veteran director James Wan earned over a billion dollars, Warner Bros. executives were likely hoping the DCEU would go out with a bang. Sadly, it looks like the DCEU really will go gently into that good night: GameRant reports that Aquaman 2 is projected to earn even less at the opening weekend box office than the infamous MCU flop The Marvels.
Box Office Projections Low
According to the projections, Aquaman 2 is going to earn somewhere between $32 million to $42 million in its opening weekend. That might sound like a lot of money, but you need to keep two things in mind: first, the film has a high budget of $205 million, and because box office returns almost always plummet after a movie comes out, a low opening weekend box office is often an accurate predictor of a film’s dismal overall performance.
Worse Than The Marvels
Second, even if Aquaman 2 makes $42 million (the highest possible projected box office) that weekend, it will still come in making $5 million less than The Marvels, which is already the most high-profile flop of the season. Of course, The Marvels is a higher-profile movie and was much more expensive than Aquaman 2, costing Disney a cool $273.million to make. But considering that Aquaman 2 presales are 25 percent lower than the famous DC flop Shazam: Fury of the Gods, it looks like Aquaman 2 will be a flop no matter what you choose to measure it against.
Why Is Aquaman 2 Set To Bomb?
Why would Aquaman 2 flop so hard when the first film earned a global box office of more than one billion dollars? Even though the term is serving more and more as a scapegoat for panicked executives, we have to imagine superhero fatigue is a factor: it’s difficult to get excited about Jason Momoa suiting up as Aquaman again when Marvel has been unleashing a firehose of superhero content on us year after year.
It doesn’t help that controversial actor Amber Heard is returning as the female lead, and her negative reputation after losing that highly public defamation case with ex-husband Johnny Depp isn’t doing Aquaman 2 any favors.
A Pointless Film
Another likely reason why Aquaman 2 is already doomed is that the general public knows that the events of the film won’t matter after James Gunn reboots the entire universe. From the beginning, DC has been aping Marvel in its attempts to create a cinematic universe of interconnected characters and films. When audiences know damn well this movie won’t affect the larger DC universe from this point forward, it’s easier to say “I’ll just stream it later” than to rush out for the premiere weekend.
Jason Momoa’s DC Future
There is always a chance Aquaman 2 could surprise us: if the film blows everyone away, it might become one of those rare movies that pull out of an initial tailspin due to positive word of mouth. However, it’s worth noting that word-of-mouth has done nothing to improve the box office of The Marvels, and it seems unlikely that another fishy tale of Jason Momoa fighting ugly CGI sea creatures is going to put butts into theater seats. As for us, we’re likely to sit this first opening weekend out while we hope those rumors about James Gunn casting Jason Momoa as Lobo turn out to be true.