“Aquaman" from AT&T Inc.’s Warner Bros. made the biggest splash at the box office this weekend, beating four new releases, including a returning “Mary Poppins" and a “Transformers" prequel. Comscore Inc. estimates the industry slightly surpassed 2016’s North American record of $11.383 billion on Sunday.
The DC Comics-based movie collected $67.4 million in theaters in the U.S. and Canada through Sunday, according to Comscore estimates; the total rose to $72.1 million including some special opening and preview events. The film won the weekend while still falling short of the $82 million predicted by analysts at Box Office Pro. It had earned $332.1 million worldwide before it was released in North America, according to Box Office Mojo.
“Aquaman" brings fresh momentum to the DC Comics’ extended universe, which began with “Man of Steel" in 2013. It was positively reviewed by 64 percent of critics, according to RottenTomatoes. That was a better showing than some of the franchise’s earlier outings, including last year’s “Justice League."
Critics also welcomed “Mary Poppins Returns," with 78 percent recommending the Walt Disney Co. sequel. It scored $22.2 million in its domestic debut, versus a forecast of $36 million by Box Office Pro. Emily Blunt stars as Poppins, who returns to Cherry Tree Lane to help the Banks family once again. Lin-Manuel Miranda of “Hamilton" fame plays a lamplighter.
A $135 million prequel from the “Transformers" franchise called “Bumblebee" placed third with $21 million. The movie from Paramount Pictures is the first of the series not directed by Michael Bay and focuses on the relationship of a teen girl and her car-turned-robot. Critics were largely positive, with 94 percent recommending the movie, the most for any installment in the franchise.
Smaller releases included STX Entertainment’s “Second Act," a romantic comedy with Jennifer Lopez, which collected $6.5 million and cost $16 million to make. Universal’s “Welcome to Marwen," a drama with Steve Carell, placed ninth with $2.36 million. It cost $39 million to make, according to Box Office Mojo.