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Whisper Numbers: Aquaman vs. Mary Poppins vs. Bumblebee, oh my

After decades as the butt of jokes in the suphero world of DC Comics, Aquaman [AQUMN] is poised to conquer the box office. Jason Momoa [JMOMO] first played the role in Justice League, which opened to $93.8 million in November 2017. The stand-alone Aquaman explores the origins of the half-human, half-Atlantean, who is called upon to reclaim his rightful place in the underwater kingdom. Director James Wan [JWAN] has embraced the superhero’s eccentricity and delivered on CG spectacles. The PG-13 rated adventure has generated positive buzz and reviews. Advance ticket sales have surpassed Wonder Woman, which opened to $103.2 million in June 2017. Some of those sales are for the Christmas break next week, so Aquaman may not cross the century mark over 3 days. Diving into 4125 theaters, Aquaman looks to surface with $82 million.

Mary Poppins Returns [MPOPN] after 54 years with Emily Blunt [EBLUN] in the title role. The 1964 musical is a classic seen by multiple generations of Disney fans. Lin-Manuel Miranda [LMIRA] costars in the PG-rated sequel directed by Rob Marshall [RMARS]. Mary Poppins Returns opened on Wednesday and grossed $4.8 million. Advance ticket sales are ahead of Jumanji, which banked $52.7 million during its first 5 days. Mary Poppins Returns should deliver similar results with $50 million through Sunday from 4090 locations.

Paramount reboots the Transformers franchise with Bumblebee [TFRM6] and without director Michael Bay. Set during the 1980s, the PG-rated prequel features Autobots and Decepticons that look more like the original toys. The family-friendly Bumblebee has received the best reviews in the series, which will help to bring back adult fans that grew up with the cartoons. Advance ticket sales are outpacing Transformers: The Last Knight, which debuted at $4.7 million. Rolling into 3550 theaters, Bumblebee could stick $45 million.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse [ASPDR] has excellent word of mouth, but faces heavy competition. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse could drop 45% in its sophomore frame to $19 million. The Mule [TMULE] will enjoy long legs due to its older fanbase. The Mule looks to hold about 65% from its debut for $11.5 million.

Jennifer Lopez [JLOPE] toplines the PG-13 rated romantic comedy Second Act [2NDAC]. Her last film The Boy Next Door opened to $14.9 million during a less crowded January weekend. The female target audience may hold off until after the busy first weekend. Second Act could earn $9 million from 2607 theaters.

Welcome to Marwen [MARWN] is likely to bring up the rear among the new wide releases. Despite having director Robert Zemeckis [RZEME], the PG-13 rated fantasy has received some of the worse reviews of the year. Universal’s marketing campaign has been unappealing. Released in just 1911 theaters, Welcome to Marwen may not hit $8 million.

Two Oscar-bait films expands wide this weekend. The Favourite [FVRIT] could net $4 million in its fifth weekend from 790 theaters, while Mary Queen of Scots [MQOFS] could draw $3 million during its second weekend from 795 theaters.

That’s the whisper on the virtual trading floor.


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By Box Office Whisperer on Thursday, December 20, 2018 @ 03:11 PM 1198 views

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