Despite Negativity, ‘Captain Marvel’ Sequel Blasts ‘Aquaman 2’ Out of the Water

in DC, Marvel

Jason Momoa as Arthur Curry holding trident in DC's 'Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom' (2023)

Credit: DC Studios

According to a new survey, Marvel Studios’ Brie Larson-fronted Captain Marvel (2019) sequel, The Marvels (2023), is on track to beat DC’s Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (2023) at an exciting and packed season at the holiday box office, despite neither blockbuster faring overly well with audiences.

Jason Momoa looking surprised as Aquaman in the water
Credit: DC Studios

Related: DC Legend Backs Jason Momoa Over Amber Heard Accusations

It’s a battle of the superhero sequels as director James Wan’s Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom prepares to go head-to-head with Nia DaCosta’s The Marvels this winter, with each film arriving in theaters around the Thanksgiving and Christmas season.

Given that the first Captain Marvel installment passed the $1 billion mark at the box office following its release in 2019, it’s only natural that Disney and Marvel would want to bring back the titular high-flying superhero for another adventure across the cosmos. However, Larson’s portrayal of the oftentimes flat, bullheaded Carol Danvers has earned its fair share of controversy over the years, with the character playing a pretty unremarkable role in Avengers: Endgame (2019) despite her impressive powers.

Brie Larson as Captain Marvel with a glowing fist in The Marvels
Credit: Marvel Studios

Related: Massive Leak Ruins the Unbelievable Post-Credits Cameo in ‘The Marvels’

So far, The Marvels is failing to garner much hype and is set to perform significantly worse than its 2019 predecessor, as indicated by reports of poor pre-sale tickets. The movie is also one of the shortest MCU installments of all time, clocking in at just 105 minutes.

Check out the full-length trailer for Marvel Studios’ The Marvels below:

While it’s hard to pinpoint why exactly audiences aren’t buzzing about the Captain Marvel sequel, “superhero fatigue” could factor into its abysmal sales, as casual viewers aren’t too familiar with the other two members of the film’s central trio: Ms. Marvel breakout star Iman Vellani’s Kamala Khan, and Teyonah Parris, who made her franchise debut as Monica Rameau in the Disney+ WandaVision miniseries.

Still, a recent clip shared by Marvel’s official socials yesterday was met with overwhelmingly positive reviews, showing a high-stakes battle sequence highlighting Carol, Monica, and Kamala’s interconnected powers and the impressively designed Kree ships. The video earned the superhero studio some major kudos from comic book fans, showing that this sequel has the potential to be a blast.

Every member of The Marvels looking up into the distance
Credit: Marvel Studios

DC’s Aquaman (2018), on the other hand, was an unexpected hit for the studio and saw Jason Momoa’s bombastic warrior-king rake in a total worldwide gross of $1.152 billion. Although the story left something to be desired, most viewers agreed that Aquaman was a fun underwater romp and a faithful adaptation of the DC comics — something that was sorely needed following the critical flop of Justice League (2017).

On the surface, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom has all the necessary ingredients to be another box office hit for DC: an all-star cast including Nicole Kidman, Patrick Wilson, Temuera Morrison, and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, a seasoned director, and a hearty $200 million budget from Warner Bros. Its storyline also seems to be playing it safe, following an older and wiser Arthur Curry as he steps into his new role as husband, father, and the King of Atlantis.


Check out the official trailer for DC Studios’ Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom below:

But thanks to the nonstop flow of Amber Heard-related news, it seems like things weren’t exactly picture-perfect behind the scenes during filming, signaling trouble ahead for the upcoming sequel. Following her highly-publicized legal battle with her ex-husband, Johnny Depp, Heard’s role as Mera was allegedly cut down to mere minutes in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. The actress also claimed that Momoa “wanted [her] fired” and would drunkenly harass her on set.

Additionally, the DC movie underwent extensive reshoots after early test screenings caused viewers to walk out halfway through, deeming it borderline unwatchable. The reshot scenes and, hopefully, improved CGI will make the story a bit more cohesive if done successfully, though it doesn’t seem like things are looking up for the Aquaman franchise, considering the film will mark Momoa’s last outing as Arthur Curry.

Amber Heard as Mera (L) and Jason Momoa as Aquaman (R) in 'Aquaman'
Credit: Warner Bros.

So, with both The Marvels and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom poised to flop at the holiday box office, which movie reigns supreme? Well, according to a new survey conducted by Fandango, data suggests there’s a lot of excitement for the Captain Marvel sequel despite lowball estimates of its mediocre box-office performance.

Based on information collected by the ticketing website, over 1,800 Fandango ticket buyers said these five movies were their most anticipated of the holiday season: Ridley Scott’s Napoleon (2023), the Rachel Zegler-led The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes (2023), Timothee Chalamet’s Wonka (2023), Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, and topping the list of titles, The Marvels.

We surveyed over 1,800 Fandango ticket buyers, and here are the Top 5 Most Anticipated Movies releasing in theaters this holiday season! Check out the full top 10 here:

After hearing so much conflicting information about the upcoming MCU team-up flick, it’s interesting to learn that moviegoers are gravitating to The Marvels over other buzzy releases like Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, the Hunger Games prequel, and even Disney Animation’s Wish (2023) — according to Fandango’s sales, at least.

Although The Marvels currently holds the crown based on Fandango’s numbers, these results are also promising for Warner Bros. and the DCEU. Considering Marvel’s box office domination in the superhero genre, it’s somewhat of a given that the Aquaman sequel would struggle to stack up to its renowned competitor. Plus, it’s impressive that Momoa’s final go-around as the King of Atlantis beat out a Disney production in the polls, proving that there’s certainly room for both it and The Marvels to succeed.

Brie Larson as Captain Marvel flying with Goose on her shoulder in The Marvels
Credit: Marvel Studios

With so many high-profile projects on the slate for this holiday season, there’s no denying that it’s going to be a hectic and exciting winter at the movies. Only time will tell if DC or Marvel will be the winner of this particular release window or if both films will suffer from a lack of positive press and rumored behind-the-scenes drama. But based on this poll, things are finally looking up for these action-packed sequels.

The Marvels flies into theaters on November 10, 2023, while Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom premieres on December 22, 2023.

Will results like these translate to box office success for both The Marvels and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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