Aquaman beats Mary Poppins Returns and Bumblebee at Christmas box office

It was a crowded market full of films hoping to capitalise on a Star Wars-free month

Jacob Stolworthy@Jacob_Stol
Sunday 23 December 2018 16:30
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Aquaman - Trailer 2

The battle of the Christmas box office has been won.

In a year without a Star Wars film, several studios threw their names into the ring in the hope to reign victorious – but the 2018 crown belongs to Warner Bros.

Aquaman, the first DC film since 2017’s Justice League, has amassed global takings of $350.7m, with an estimated $70m of that generated from North America locations.

Its international takings have already reclaimed Warner Bros’s $200m budget in the opening week alone.

Following in second place is Transformers spin-off, Bumblebee, which has only just pushed Disney’s 2018 attempt – Mary Poppins Returns – into third.

Paramount’s Bumblebee is estimated to take £22m at the US box office compared to the Mary Poppins sequel’s $21m.

Bumblebee is expected to do huge business when it opens in China on 4 Jan; the country is the Transformers franchise’s most successful market. The film, directed by Kubo and the Two Strings’s Travis Knight and starring Hailee Steinfeld, has easily been the best reviewed Transformers film to date, with a Rotten Tomatoes score of 94%.

Mary Poppins Returns has also been scoring positive reviews, though there are lukewarm ones to be found. Its $21m, amassed from a debut in more than 4,000 cinemas, is below box office predictions. The film – which stars Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda – is expected to perform extremely well in other markets, specifically the UK.

It’s a sure bet this time next year will be a far different story considering December 2019 will mark the release of JJ Abrams’s Star Wars: Episode IX.

Aquaman, Bumblebee and Mary Poppins Returns are in cinemas now.

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