As Aquaman Sequel Makes Waves, a New Era Dawns for DC Movies”

This Friday marks the debut of “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom,” serving as the concluding chapter in Warner Bros. Discovery’s DC Extended Universe film franchise and, in all likelihood, Jason Momoa’s final portrayal of the iconic hero.

James Gunn and Peter Safran, the newly appointed heads of DC Studios, are gearing up to revamp the franchise with “Superman: Legacy” in 2025. Currently, Aquaman is not the central focus among the myriad film and TV projects announced in their expansive slate in January.

As Aquaman Sequel Makes Waves, a New Era Dawns for DC Movies"
As Aquaman Sequel Makes Waves, a New Era Dawns for DC Movies”

Before Momoa’s rugged and charismatic performances, Aquaman was often the target of ridicule among comic book enthusiasts and Hollywood, even becoming a running joke on the HBO showbiz comedy “Entourage.” However, the former “Game of Thrones” star successfully transformed the character into a symbol of coolness.

Nevertheless, “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” finds itself in a precarious position, with its success holding both everything and nothing. A box office disappointment could consign it to a bygone era of DC storytelling, while a blockbuster performance would serve as a crowning achievement for a challenging decade of superhero narratives.

Safran expresses optimism, hoping that audiences will rally to theaters in support of Momoa, with the door left ajar for the star’s potential return.

“If it’s the end of the journey, fine. If it goes on, that’s also fine,” Safran remarked at an IWC Schaffhausen event on Tuesday, celebrating the collaboration between the watchmaker and the studio. He emphasized that Jason Momoa will always have a home at DC and Warner Bros., expressing a desire for people to turn out and support what could be Momoa’s final stint as Aquaman.

While Momoa publicly conveys hope for a future return to the character, he candidly admits that the prospects are not looking promising.

Projections for the film’s domestic box office hover between $32 million and $42 million, roughly half of the inaugural “Aquaman” film’s debut in 2018. Similarly, the long-term forecast anticipates reaching $105 million to $168 million domestically, only half of the original’s tally five years ago.

It’s worth noting that the review embargo for “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” extends until Thursday, offering a limited timeframe for audiences to peruse reviews before making a decision over the weekend. The embargo’s timing can be interpreted as a cautious approach by the studio, either indicating a lack of confidence or a strategy to prevent major spoilers from leaking ahead of the release.

Despite potential challenges, the “Aquaman” sequel benefits from facing minimal competition in theaters this weekend and could leverage the holiday season, appealing to families with children on vacation. While other releases, such as Universal’s animated feature “Migration” and Warner Bros.’ “Wonka,” target diverse audiences, “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” aims for the male demographic aged 18 to 34, finding a niche in this month’s limited theatrical offerings.

As senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian suggests, the true judgment of “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” should come when the dust settles in early January, urging observers to consider its overall performance rather than focusing solely on its opening weekend.

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