Why Did Aquaman Do So Well at the Box Office?
After the success of the first installment in the superhero franchise, fans are eagerly awaiting the release of Aquaman 2. Released in 2018, the first film in the Aquaman series grossed around $1.15 billion at the box office. To capitalize on this, and to flesh out the wider DC Universe, producers gave the go-ahead for a sequel. November 2020 has seen pre-production begin in earnest to help achieve as much success as Aquaman’s debut. But what can fans do to prepare for the 2022 release?
The best aspect of Aquaman’s success was that it came almost as a surprise. Superhero films have remained steadily popular, but few anticipated the origin story of Arthur Curry to do so well. As such, the sequel was immediately greenlit, and a spin-off was also placed in development.
The film’s success could be attributed to the lead, Jason Momoa, who captivated audiences. Or it could be because the ocean is still a concept audiences are interested in. The ocean is a source of mystery and wonder – as well as sheer terror for many. Thus, it became ripe ground for a new kind of superhero and left audiences hooked. The upgrading of Aquaman from his previous incarnations is also likely a factor – the comic book Aquaman was cornier than the film’s portrayal.
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But Aquaman was popular because it opened up a huge universe for fans to explore. The Aquaman theme has seeped into other media and across entertainment. For example, prior to the film’s release, Aquaman was a playable character in the Injustice game series. This helped to lay the foundation to engage with the character. It also presented an Aquaman who looked completely different from how Momoa portrayed the character.
Aquaman has even been adapted for the online casino industry. The Aquaman slot game provides the DC-themed content as an online casino slot game. Taking traditional slot gameplay and bringing in themes from Aquaman means that fans of the franchise have another method of engaging with the content. The modern portrayal of Aquaman is fitting for the format of the slot game itself.
Announced after the success of the first film, the Aquaman spin-off is to be penned by James Wan, Noah Gardner, and Adam Fitzgerald, with Peter Safran producing it. The show, titled The Trench, will focus more on the sea creatures that Aquaman fought in the first film. It won’t feature the main cast in a significant way – through, fans probably expect at least a gratuitous cameo.
Creating the creatures that were spawned from living in the Marianas Trench is a mythology in itself and the series is expected to focus on this. The popularity of sci-fi shows, such as Star Trek: Discovery, which The Trench veers towards, as well as horror, has helped it gain appeal. The series has begun the behind the scenes preparation to help tie the show into the main franchise. The focus on the Marianas Trench monsters shows that the overarching success of Aquaman also comes from the setting.
The 2022 release of Aquaman 2 may still seem a long way off, but as pre-production continues and The Trench begins to grow from the idea stage, fans still have something to keep them excited. The success of Aquaman may have been surprising, but the versatility of the character and wider universe shows that the success was completely warranted.