Aquaman makes a big splash to top North American box office

LOS ANGELES (AFP) – New Warner Bros. release Aquaman made the biggest waves in North American theaters over the weekend with US$67.4 million (S$92.6 million) in ticket sales, industry tracker Exhibitor Relations estimated Sunday.

That put it well ahead of two other new holiday-timed releases, as Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns took in US$22.2 million for the three-day weekend, flying slightly higher than Paramount’s Bumblebee at US$21 million.

Together, the three helped boost the year’s domestic box-office revenue toward a record US$11.8 billion, Hollywood Reporter said.

Aquaman stars Jason Momoa in a title role infused with new swagger by director James Wan, with Variety calling Momoa’s Aquaman “a bare-chested Hawaiian super-stud with long, shaggy surfer hair and all-over tribal tattoos.” The look seems to work: The film has already taken in some US$410 million outside North America.

“Mary Poppins,” while lacking truly boffo opening numbers, is expected to follow past musicals in enjoying a long box-office run.

The sequel to the 1964 movie stars Emily Blunt as the stern but kind-hearted nanny (Julie Andrews in the original), backed by Lin-Manuel Miranda of “Hamilton” fame. Dick Van Dyke, Mary Poppins’ Cockney-accented friend in the original film, makes a cameo.

“Bumblebee,” a prequel to the “Transformers” movies, stars Hailee Steinfeld and John Cena. It drew a lofty 94 percent rating from Rotten Tomatoes as all three of the top grossing new movies earned strong A- ratings from CinemaScores.

In fourth was Sony’s “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” taking in $16.7 million. It has Peter Parker making way for Miles Morales as a black, Latino Spider-Man.

And fifth spot went to “The Mule” from Warner Bros., at $9.3 million. Clint Eastwood, who at 88 says this will be his last acting part, directs and takes the lead role as a destitute 90-year-old who turns to transporting cocaine for a Mexican drug cartel.

Rounding out the weekend’s top 10 were: “Dr. Seuss’s The Grinch” ($8.2 million) “Second Act” ($6.5 million) “Ralph Breaks the Internet” ($4.6 million) “Welcome to Marwen” ($2.4 million) “Mary Queen of Scots” ($2.2 million)

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