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Box Office: ‘Aquaman’ to Claim No. 1 Spot With $70 Million

The DC universe’s latest installment, “Aquaman,” is headed for a splashy debut, with an estimated $70 million from 4,125 North American locations.

The forecast sits at the higher end of most predictions for the film’s pre-Christmas debut. “Aquaman” has amassed $350.7 million internationally, including $18.9 million on Friday. Jason Momoa stars as the titular hero, with Nicole Kidman, Amber Heard and Patrick Wilson co-starring.

Warner Bros. gave the film a pricey $200 million budget, which it has already recouped overseas. It’s the first standalone DCU film since 2017’s “Wonder Woman,” which debuted with $103 million last year, eventually totaling $412 million domestically.

The Transformers franchise’s newest addition, “Bumblebee,” is edging “Mary Poppins Returns” for second place with an estimated $22 million from 3,550 domestic sites, compared to “Mary Poppins'” $21 million.

Bumblebee” earned $8.46 million on Friday with $2.15 million from Thursday previews. The Paramount pic opens in China, which has proven to be the “Transformers” franchise’s most successful market, on Jan. 4.

The sixth “Transformers” pic tapped Travis Knight to direct from Christina Hodson’s screenplay, rather than franchise regular Michael Bay. Hailee Steinfeld stars in the prequel, alongside John Cena, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., John Ortiz, and Pamela Adlon. The sci-fi action film has a 94% certified fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, by far the best score of any “Transformers” installment, and an A- CinemaScore.

Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Mary Poppins” sequel is debuting at 4,090 theaters, and coming in slightly below earlier predictions. Rob Marshall directed the Disney film, which has a 77% certified fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and A- CinemaScore. Ben Wishaw, Emily Mortimer, Dick Van Dyke, Julie Walters, Colin Firth, Meryl Streep, and Angela Lansbury also star.

Sony-Marvel’s “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is estimated to scoop up another $17.45 million in its sophomore frame to land fourth place, bringing its domestic total to $65.5 million. The animated superhero film earned $6.6 million Friday in its China debut, taking first place for the day.

Clint Eastwood’s crime drama “The Mule” should round out the top five with about $9 million in its second weekend. It’s totaled $29.9 million in its first eight days.

Romantic comedy “Second Act,” starring Jennifer Lopez, is debuting at No. 7 from 2,607 domestic sites. The STX Films pic should take in around $7 million from a $16 million budget, which is in line with earlier estimates. Peter Segal directed from Justin Zackham and Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas’s script, which follows Lopez as a low-paid employee who gets a chance to fulfill her ambitions when a firm mistakes her for a powerful consultant and hires her to negotiate an important deal. Leah Remini and Vanessa Hudgens also star. The film has a 42% RT score and a B+ CinemaScore.

At the specialty box office, awards contender and Poland’s foreign language Oscar submission “Cold War” will debut at three theaters for Amazon Studios. “Ida” helmer Paweł Pawlikowski directed from his own script.

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