In December 2018, Aquaman kicked-off its cinematic roll-out. The movie took in China (Dec 7th), the UK (Dec 14th) and the USA (Dec 21st), amongst many other territories around the world.

The James Wan-directed film – featuring Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Nicole Kidman, and Willem Dafoe – was viewed as an important piece in the DC Extended Universe puzzle. For Warner Bros. Pictures, it was a comic book movie that could help make or break the DCEU, so it was vital that the film appealed to audiences.

Early indications suggested that the movie was tracking well and from pre-sales alone, Aquaman was certainly set to make a sizeable impact at the worldwide box office.

But what of the reviews? What was the early buzz surrounding the movie? Did it encourage audiences to head to movie theatres to check out the film?


Initial review reactions to Aquaman

Image: ©Warner Bros. Pictures/DC Entertainment

A couple of weeks ahead of the film’s release, movie critics were invited to an Aquaman screening, so they could write their reviews. However, Warner Bros. Pictures was keen to keep a review embargo in place until nearer the film’s release date, so the critics couldn’t publish their reviews.

However, the embargo only applied to full reviews (i.e reviews on TV, in newspapers etc). The restrictions for social media were less imposing, and this meant the critics could reveal their opinions early doors – albeit in an abbreviated way.

These early reactions, as brief as they were, helped to inform audiences of the film’s status. Was it a hit? Or was it a dud?


Here is what the critics said about Aquaman before it went on general release to the public:

  • Brandon Davis of, said: “Aquaman is great. James Wan made a really unique super hero origin film, often crossing into fantasy-epic territory, but grounded in family and discovery. The world is visually incredible. Jason Momoa as Arthur Curry is a total bad-ass.”
  • Sean Gerber of, said: “Aquaman is an epic fantasy adventure on the high seas! It’s packed with thrilling action in a dazzling underwater world like nothing I’ve ever seen in superhero movies, or anywhere else. I had a total blast watching this movie & so will you. See it on the biggest screen you can!”
  • The positive vibes continued from Paul Shirey of Paul said: “Short & sweet reaction to Aquaman is that I loved it. It’s a comic book movie through & through with great action, iconic moments & visual spectacle to spare. Momoa makes the character his own & Wan honors the traditional aspects, but elevates it to the modern era. It’s a blast.”
Image: ©Warner Bros. Pictures/DC Entertainment
  • Tom Jorgensen of IGN, called Aquaman “the best DC movie since The Dark Knight.” He added: “WB should be handing the DCEU reins to James Wan, he’s proven he can, ahem, right the ship.”
  • And finally, Dorian Parks of Geeks of Color said he “loved” Aquaman. He added: “It’s definitely one of the best DC universe movies thus far. It’s a fun underwater fantasy sci-fi adventure everyone will enjoy. James Wan did a great job of bringing the first Aquaman movie to life.”

So, there we have it – very positive reactions all around.

Things looked good for Aquaman and do you know what? They were!



How much money did Aquaman make?

Image: ©Warner Bros. Pictures/DC Entertainment

These initial social media reactions were a precursor to mostly positive reviews (once the review embargo lifted). And with audiences given the thumbs up, they headed to theatres to check out the movie!

By the time Aquaman had finished its theatrical run it had clocked up more than $1billion at the worldwide box office!

This impressive figure – which certainly wowed the suits over at Warner Bros. – was divided as follows:

  • $335,061,807 – Domestic
  • $813,400,000 – International

Total: $1,148,461,807

So early buzz certainly helped Aquaman, and it was clear that both audiences and critics enjoyed what was on offer.



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