Hollywood is totally banking on movie fans hitting theaters this Christmas, as December 21 has become the most heated box office weekend of the year, with ‘Aquaman’, ‘Bumblebee’ and ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ all premiering along with alternative fare like the Will Ferrell/John C. Reilly slapstick comedy ‘Holmes & Watson’ and Robert Zemeckis’ ‘Welcome to Marwen‘. Does this deluge worry ‘Aquaman’ director James Wan? Well… yes.
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, the director admitted:
“For sure, I think I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried.But generally around the holidays, there’s a lot to go around — which was pointed out to us when ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ and ‘Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle’ opened on top of each other. You see how well ‘Jumanji’ played.”
Indeed, ‘Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle’ premiered one week after ‘The Last Jedi’ opened, but went on to take the #1 spot later (an unusual occurrence) and eventually became Sony’s highest-grossing movie ever, outperforming even the ‘Spider-Man’ franchise.
Wan went on to play on ‘Aquaman’s status as the whipping boy of the superhero universe, saying:
“I don’t mind being the underdog. ‘Aquaman’ has always been the underdog and I’m happy to continue that narrative.”
Indeed, for years, Aquaman’s “talks to fish” reputation made him pretty unpopular among comic book fans. But thanks to Geoff Johns and other writers, in recent years, the character’s superhuman strength and near-invulnerability have given him a higher profile. Johns’ work made a major impression on how Aquaman has been depicted in the films.
But will he be strong enough to take on Disney’s juggernaut ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ or the ‘Transformers’ spin-off ‘Bumblebee’? That remains to be seen.
‘Aquaman’ does have strong buzz leading up to its release. Screenings of footage in China earned comparisons to ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Matrix’. Warner Brothers has also arranged a special preview screening for Amazon Prime customers on December 15. Last year, ‘Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle’ also screened early for Amazon customers, which led to the excellent word-of-mouth that helped make the film a hit when it was officially released.
What movie will be your Christmas selection– ‘Aquaman’, ‘Bumblebee’, ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ or something else?
Directed by James Wan, ‘Aquaman’ stars Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Patrick Wilson, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Willem Dafoe, Djimon Hounsou, Nicole Kidman, Dolph Lundgren, Graham McTavish, Temuera Morrison, Randall Park, Natalia Safran and the voice of Julie Andrews. It opens on December 21.