×

‘Aquaman’ Torpedoes to Strong Start in China

UPDATED: “Aquaman” torpedoed to a strong start in China on Friday, with Warner Bros. estimating that its latest superhero blockbuster reeled in RMB 169 million ($24.6 million) in the studio’s biggest-ever opening day in the Middle Kingdom.

Midnight screenings the night before brought in another RMB 9 million ($1.3 million), according to data from entertainment consultancy Artisan Gateway. An $80 million opening weekend appears within reach, which would far surpass that of DC Comics titles “Batman vs. Superman” ($55 million) and “Wonder Woman” ($37.7 million).

Aquaman” has been garnering extremely favorable reviews online, an important driver of the Chinese film market, the world’s second-largest after the U.S. The hashtag “‘Aquaman’ is an explosive high” was trending Friday evening on Weibo, China’s Twitter. “I felt like a moviegoer in the 70s watching ‘Star Wars’ for the first time,” wrote one awed user.

The film was released in China two weeks before its rollout in the U.S. to beat the crush of other Hollywood titles, including “The Grinch” and “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” that are set to open over the holiday period. “Aquaman” swims into Chinese cinemas just as another Hollywood tentpole, Sony’s “Venom,” is easing its grip on the box office. “Venom” has earned well over $250 million in less than a month, and has been granted an extension beyond the standard four weeks that most Hollywood films get in Chinese theaters.

“Aquaman’s” splashy opening-day performance put it in a hugely comfortable first place at the box office, with more than 85% market share, ahead of local crime thriller “A Cold Fish,” a surprise hit that pushed past $100 million Friday. U.S.-made survival tale “Adrift” was in third place, with an estimated 2.5% market share.

Starring Jason Momoa as a badass King of Atlantis, “Aquaman” earned a high 8.3 rating on key Chinese user-review site Douban. Many fans expressed admiration for director James Wan, who is of Malaysian-Chinese descent; one of the most popular reviews said: “He’s a technical madman. After Spielberg, Lucas and Cameron…from now on, among the world’s top technical directors, there is a Chinese one – James Wan!!!”

“Years ago, how could we have imagined that the most explosive DC movie would be ‘Aquaman’?” wrote another. “I just wanted to stay in my seat and watch the film infinite times! After exams I’ll definitely have to come back to get my fill and break my record of seven viewings.”

Becky Davis contributed to this report.

More Film

  • Picture Tree Intl. Picks Up Carolina

    Picture Tree Intl. Picks Up Carolina Hellsgård's 'Sunburned' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Picture Tree Intl. has acquired the rights to Carolina Hellsgård’s “Sunburned,” the follow-up feature to her zombie drama “Endzeit – Ever After.” PTI will be presenting first footage from the film, currently in post-production, at this year’s German Films Previews (July 3-6). “Sunburned” follows solitary teenager Claire on a family holiday in Spain. Neglected by [...]

  • Whoopi Goldberg addresses the crowd while

    Inside World Pride's Opening Ceremony: An LGBTQ Celebration With a Tinge of Politics

    World Pride officially kicked off on Wednesday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. About 8,000 people packed into the arena for a three-hour show that began with Cyndi Lauper singing her hit “True Colors.” The performance ended with a gaggle of dancing drag queens who pranced alongside Lauper as she turned the train of [...]

  • Amy Adams (left) as Lynne Cheney

    Film News Roundup: Makeup Artists and Hair Stylists Guild Sets Awards Show for Jan. 11

    In today’s film news roundup, the 2020 awards season schedule gets finalized; AFM will cover immersive content; “Murderous Trance” and “7 Days to Vegas” get acquired; and Kate Katzman has been added to “The Comeback Trail.” AWARDS DATE The Makeup Artists & Hair Stylists Guild has set Jan. 11 as the date for its seventh [...]

  • Disney Pandora World Of Avatar, Lake

    The Piano Guys Play 'Avatar' Theme in Disney World (Watch)

    The YouTube sensation The Piano Guys have taken a trip to the world of Pandora for a performance of the theme to “Avatar.” Shot in the bioluminescent floating forest in Disney World, cellist Steven Sharp Nelson and pianist Jon Schmidt put their spin on the score to James Cameron’s 2009 blockbuster. The video immerses the [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    Billy Drago, 'Untouchables' Star, Dies at 73

    Billy Drago, who often played harming but chilling gangster roles and appeared in Brian De Palma’s “The Untouchables” and Clint Eastwood’s “Pale Rider,” died Monday in Los Angeles of complications from a stroke. He was 73. The character actor played Al Capone’s henchman Frank Nitti in 1987’s “The Untouchables.” On TV series “Charmed,” he put [...]

  • Grant Sputore

    'I Am Mother' Director Tackles Margot Robbie-Produced Thriller 'Augmented'

    Warner Bros. has hired “I Am Mother” director Grant Sputore to helm the science-fiction thriller “Augmented” which Margot Robbie is producing, Variety has learned exclusively. Michael Lloyd Green is rewriting an original script by Mark Townend. Denise Di Novi and Tom Ackerley are also producing. Production companies are Robbie’s LuckyChap and Di Novi’s eponymous Di [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content