Just over three months before its Dec. 20 theatrical release, “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” has its first trailer.
The underwater actioner features Jason Momoa’s Aquaman reluctantly teaming with his previously deposed brother (Patrick Wilson) to deal with the return of Yahya Abdul-Mateen II’s Black Manta. Contrary to what the internet has been spouting for three years, Amber Heard is indeed back as Mera.
As with the previous CinemaCon sizzle reel, we see at least one shot of Mera in action. The trailer promises a jaw-droppingly gorgeous fantasy spectacle, with crisp, clear and colorful underwater photography. At a glance, James Wan isn’t handing over the underwater franchise crown to James Cameron without a fight.
Five years is a long time between installments. However, it’s only a year later than initially planned prior to COVID-related production delays. The plan, way back when, was to have ‘Aquaman 2’ open in December 2022.
It’s no secret that the DC Universe is in a weird place right now. They’ve been on a COVID-era box office losing streak, save for the stand-alone “The Batman.” We saw “Wonder Woman 1984” sent to HBO Max and theaters as the inaugural Project Popcorn flick. Most recently, “The Flash” and “Blue Beetle” crashed and burned. If “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” wasn’t part of a dying universe, and if it wasn’t firmly within a sub-genre (the comic book superhero movie) that has found itself newly on the defensive, it’d probably be in better shape.
Sans outside context, it would just be a sequel to “Aquaman,” a well-liked, well-reviewed underwater fantasy that earned $1.48 billion. If “Aquaman 2” has any hope of finding sea legs, it’ll be because Warner Bros. Discovery is able to sell it as its own thing — and it’s also the big year-end fantasy tentpole film.
We haven’t had a year-end tentpole biggie opening in the pre-Christmas slot earn under $200 million since “Tron: Legacy” and “True Grit” both earned $172 million domestically in 2010. If those “Hobbit” prequels can nab $2.9 billion over three films in the year-end slot, there’s hope for King Arthur of Atlantis.
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