×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Box Office: ‘Mary Poppins Returns,’ ‘Aquaman’ Eye $65 Million Opening Weekends

Mary Poppins Returns” and “Aquaman” are both heading towards sizable opening weekends when the two films hit theaters just before Christmas.

It’s been 54 years since “Mary Poppins” first floated into moviegoers hearts, but nostalgia seems to be a little stronger than a spoonful of sugar and should translate into big bucks for Disney. Early tracking shows the latest live-action update of a Disney classic could generate roughly $65 million through Christmas Day, with $40 million during its first five days of release. “Mary Poppins Returns” is getting a head start on one of the business weekends for moviegoing by opening on Wednesday, Dec. 19. “Aquaman,” another blockbuster hopeful gracing screens that Friday, is heading toward an equally lofty $65 million launch over the holiday frame, according to studio insiders. “Bumblebee,” “Second Act,” and “Welcome to Marwen” are also joining the Christmas race that weekend with mixed results.

The Magic Kingdom had massive success re-imagining animated classics, with recent hits like “Beauty and the Beast” earning $1.2 billion globally and “Jungle Book” amassing $966 million worldwide. Here’s some context: “Beauty and the Beast” launched with a massive $174 million, while “Jungle Book” brought in an impressive $103 million during its first week of release. The first “Mary Poppins” debuted during Lyndon Johnson’s administration, won an Oscar for Julie Andrews, and was one of the highest-grossing films at the box office that year.

Though Disney didn’t get through 2018 completely unscathed, “Mary Poppins Returns” will likely cap off a banner year for the studio as the Mouse House prepares to absorb 20th Century Fox. Disney is responsible for three of the top five biggest earners this year at the domestic box office (“Black Panther,” “Avengers: Infinity War,” and “Incredibles 2”), and “Mary Poppins Returns” could easily join that company if past re-tellings of Disney originals are any indication.

Emily Blunt assumes the role of the magical nanny that Andrew originated in the 1964 classic. This chapter introduces some new characters, including a lamplighter named Jack (Lin-Manuel Miranda) and Poppins’ wacky cousin Topsy (Meryl Streep). “Mary Poppins Returns” is set over two decades after the events of the first film and sees the prim and proper nanny back to help the next generation of Banks children (Ben Whishaw and Emily Mortimer) after the family experiences a tragedy. Dick Van Dyke, who famously portrayed Poppins’ closest friend Bert in the original film, has a cameo in the sequel.

Rob Marshall, who previously teamed with Blunt and Disney on “Into the Woods,” directed the sequel. You won’t hear legendary tunes like “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” “Spoonful of Sugar,” and “Step In Time,” because “Mary Poppins Returns” features all new original songs with music and lyrics by award-winning composer Marc Shaiman and lyrics by Scott Wittman and Shaiman.

“Aquaman” was directed by James Wan and features Jason Momoa as the eponymous King of the Seven Seas. Warner Bros. hopes the latest entry in DC’s Extended Universe can stir up similar enthusiasm as its smash hit “Wonder Woman,” and will receive a warmer critical embrace than “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” and “Justice League.” Early reviews are calling the movie “fun,” which is a rave in comparison to “Suicide Squad,” but we are grading on a healthy curve here. The cast also includes Nicole Kidman, Amber Heard, and Willem Dafoe. It’s the first feature film centered on Aquaman, the heir to the underwater kingdom of Atlantis. Though most studios would celebrate a $65 million launch, it’s on the lower side compared to Warner Bros.’ recent slate superhero movies, including “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” ($166 million), “Justice League” ($93 million), and “Wonder Woman” ($103 million). Word-of-mouth will be critical.

Paramount’s “Transformers” origin story “Bumblebee” should earn $40 million over the five days and $20 million during its opening weekend. If projections hold, that would be the smallest start yet for a “Transformers” film. The most recent entry in the sci-fi franchise, “Transformers: The Last Knight,” debuted with $44 million in summer of 2017 and went on to make $605 million worldwide, ranking as the lowest grossing (and most poorly reviewed) installment yet. It’s the first “Transformers” movie that Michael Bay isn’t directing (meaning that magic hour shots will be kept to a minimum and narrative coherence should be much improved). Bay is still on board as a producer. Hailee Steinfeld is starring in “Bumblebee,” which the studio is hoping can revive a franchise that seems to be running on fumes.

Jennifer Lopez’s romantic comedy “Second Act” and Robert Zemeckis’ drama “Welcome to Marwen” with Steve Carell and Leslie Mann are both eyeing bows in the mid-teens over the first five days of release. Christmas cheer may abound, but at the multiplexes it will be downright Darwinian. Survival of the fittest and all that.

More Film

  • Festival director Thierry Fremaux speaks to

    Cannes: Thierry Fremaux on the Lineup's Record Number of Female Directors, American Cinema and Political Films

    The Cannes Film Festival has unveiled a lineup for its 72nd edition that includes some high-profile Hollywood titles, genre movies and films from 13 female directors. The official selection has been applauded by many for mixing established auteurs like Pedro Almodovar (“Pain and Glory”), Terrence Malick (“A Hidden Life”) and Xavier Dolan (“Matthias and Maxime”) [...]

  • RUDOLF NUREYEV 1961

    Film Review: 'Nureyev'

    It would be absurd to say that Rudolf Nureyev lived, or danced, in anyone’s shadow. He was a man who leapt and twirled and flew onstage, all muscle but light as a feather, with a freedom and force that reconfigured the human spirit. There’s no denying, though, that over the last few decades, and especially [...]

  • Die Kinder Der Toten review

    Film Review: 'Die Kinder Der Toten'

    The hills are alive (or rather, undead), with the sound of music (also mastication and the moaning of zombies) in Kelly Copper and Pavol Liska’s experimental, dialogue-free, home-movie-style riff on Elfriede Jelinek’s “Die Kinder Der Toten” (The Children of the Dead). A seminal text in Jelinek’s native Austria, the 1995 book has never been translated [...]

  • Idol review

    Film Review: 'Idol'

    How many twists can a plot undergo before it snaps? This, more than any of the many political, moral and personal conundrums that snake through “Idol,” seems to be the question writer-director Lee Su-jin is most interested in posing with his extravagantly incomprehensible sophomore feature. A seedy political thriller by way of grisly revenge movie [...]

  • The Last to See Them review

    Film Review: 'The Last to See Them'

    Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood” stretches long as a late-evening shadow over Italian director Sara Summa’s feature debut “The Last to See Them.” The Italian title, “Gli Ultimi Viderli Vivere” which translates literally to “The Last to See Them Alive,” is also the heading of the opening chapter of Capote’s book. The setting is, similarly, [...]

  • Kalank

    Film Review: ‘Kalank’

    Events leading to the 1947 Partition of India serve as the forebodingly serious backdrop for the exhaustingly overextended razzmatazz of “Kalank,” writer-director Abhishek Varman’s lavish but ponderous Bollywood extravaganza, which opened in the U.S. on more than 300 screens the same day as its Indian release. Despite the preponderance of sets and costumes spectacular enough [...]

  • WGA Agency Packaging Fight Placeholder Writer

    WGA: 92% of Writers Who Signed Statement of Support Have Fired Agents

    The Writers Guild of America estimated that over 92% of their members who support a new code of conduct for talent agencies have fired those representatives. Letters announcing formal termination will be delivered on Monday, the guild said in a late-hitting memo on Thursday, as most agencies will be closed tomorrow in observance of Good [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content