20 Months After Defamation Trial, Amber Heard Scores Huge Win Over Johnny Depp

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Amber Heard as Mera

Credit: DC Studios

Hollywood actress Amber Heard has just scored a huge win over her ex-husband, Johnny Depp, 20 months after the highly-publicized defamation trial in Fairfax County, Virginia.

Amber Heard as Queen Mera in DC's 'Aquaman'
Credit: DC Studios

Back in April 2022, Amber Heard and Johnny Depp went to trial in the United States over the former’s personal essay in The Washington Post, published in 2018. Depp sued his ex-wife in early 2019 for $50 million, with Heard countersuing for $100 million. The defamation trial came two years after Depp lost his libel case against News Group Newspapers LTD.

The pair have both returned to film following the defamation case, and despite his popularity and the fact he was seen as the victor in Virginia, Heard just scored a huge win against her former husband.

Amber Heard as Mera in 'Aquaman'
Credit: DC Studios

The actress’s latest movie, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (2023) from director James Wan, has just crossed the $400 million mark at the global box office. The tally for the latest (and last) DC Extended Universe movie now sits at $412.7 million, per Variety, making it–rather surprisingly–the highest-grossing DCEU movie since its predecessor, Aquaman (2018).

The Aquaman series has been a success for Warner Bros., with the first entry into the Jason Momoa-led franchise being the only DCEU movie to cross the $1 billion mark at the box office. Since 2018, though, nothing has come close with the likes of Shazam! (2019), Birds of Prey (2020), Wonder Woman 1984 (2020), The Suicide Squad (2021), Black Adam (2022), Shazam! Fury of the Gods (2023), The Flash (2023), and Blue Beetle (2023) all sitting well below Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom‘s global tally.

Jason Momoa as Aquaman screaming into battle
Credit: DC Studios

What this cements is Amber Heard’s box office being higher than that of her former husband’s. Since the defamation trial, Depp has only had one movie release, Maïwenn’s Jeanne du Barry (2023), and only in France following its Cannes Film Festival debut; the movie’s United Kingdom and Ireland release is forthcoming in April 2024, and as for its United States distribution, Vertical Entertainment has the rights but so far no plans have been made to share the period drama in the territory. Jeanne du Barry‘s current total takings are circa $13 million.

During the trial, Heard’s role in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom was a central topic of discussion. Across the six weeks, reports surfaced that Heard had been doubled, cut significantly, and cut altogether. Of course, now the film has been released, fans can ascertain that her role was cut dramatically from the first movie, but that is due to the movie’s focus shifting from a romantic adventure to a buddy comedy–at least according to its director.

Aquaman and Orm
Credit: DC Studios

Related: Keanu Reeves Replaced Johnny Depp In Billion-Dollar Franchise

Warner Bros. did come under fire for keeping Heard in the DCEU after they fired Depp from his role as Gellert Grindelwald in the Harry Potter spinoff series Fantastic Beasts following the outcome of the 2020 libel trial. Even before the jury ruling that Heard did defame Depp with her op-ed in The Washington Post, many fans sought her removal from this other prominent WB franchise.

It hasn’t all been box office wins for Amber Heard, though. Her movie, In the Fire (2022), only scored $21,000 at the box office and holds just a 17% score on the review site Rotten Tomatoes. As for Depp, he is currently working on his next directorial feature, Modi (TBD), starring Al Pacino. This will be Depp’s second film as director, following 1997’s The Brave with Marlon Brando.

Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow
Credit: Disney

Related: Jenna Ortega Is Jack Sparrow’s Daughter in Viral ‘Pirates of the Caribbean 6: Beyond the Horizon’ Trailer

There is one franchise that would likely catapult Depp back into being a box office frontrunner: Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean. The $4 billion series is Depp’s most commercial work to date, thanks to his larger-than-life character of Captain Jack Sparrow. While the jury is still out on whether he will return to the role, there have been rumblings from both sides to suggest that he is at least being considered.

Did you expect Amber Heard to beat Johnny Depp at the box office with Aquaman 2? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

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