Aquaman‘ Is Crossing Yet Another Outrageous Box Office Benchmark

Warner Bros. has hired David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick to write a sequel to Aquaman, according to TheWrap. James Wan is returning as a producer (along with Peter Safran) and presumably returning as director. I’m amused at some articles that are reporting this as if Warner Bros. was dragging its feet on a sequel to a movie that opened barely two months ago in China and two months ago over the rest of the world.

The news of a sequel beginning the development process isn’t exactly a shock. Aquaman is a few days away from, sans inflation or exchange rates, becoming the fourth-biggest non-Disney/non-Universal release of all time. With $1.121 billion worldwide, it is just behind Paramount/Viacom’s Transformers: Dark of the Moon ($1.1214b in 2011). Once it passes Transformers 3, it’ll be behind only Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II ($1.43b in 2011), Fox and Paramount’s Titanic ($2.1b, counting the 2012 reissue) and Avatar ($2.78b in 2009/2010). It’s already WB’s second-biggest grosser ever behind Harry Potter 7.2.

With Fantastic Beasts at a critical impasse (after Crimes of Grindelwald stumbled in North America and earned terrible reviews) and The LEGO Movie 2 opening 50% lower than The LEGO Movie, you can make the case that DC Films is more valuable to WB than it was just three months ago. It is still one of many existing franchises (the Conjuring Universe, the monsterverse, Wizarding World, Crazy Rich Asians) and potential franchises (Detective Pikachu, The Meg, Ocean’s 8). However, it is indisputably the king of the hill at the moment

DC Films’ slate is pretty full for the moment (Shazam and Joker in 2019, Birds of Prey and Wonder Woman 1984 in 2020 and DC Super Pets, The Batman and The Suicide Squad in 2021), there is no real need to rush Aquaman 2. So now Aquaman 2 joins the 4,081 other DC Films flicks in some stage of development and the just-announced spinoff. The Trench, set in Aquaman’s monster-filled “underworld,” is straight out of the Conjuring playbook. It takes a character that cameoed in a previous movie (a scary nun in Conjuring 2, a creepy doll in Conjuring) and gives them a whole film.

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