If you follow movie industry sites, one of the biggest stories is how well Warner Bros./DC’s Aquaman is doing. How the film is going to bank $1 Billion even though the lead character is often a joke, but you know what, this shouldn’t be that surprising. While indeed Aquaman has been the butt of a few jokes, you never need to explain the joke to anyone because Aquaman is a household name.
Aquaman came out in 1941, and he has been one of the most well-known heroes since. My Grandfather understands who Aquaman is and what he can do. He is the strong guy from Atlantis who can control/talk to fish. With every Marvel hero that hits the scene I have to prepare myself for all the questions, “Where did they come from? What are their powers? What other heroes do they hang out with? Why is there villain bad?” Now Marvel has been on such an amazing run that none of those questions stop most people from going to the movie, but not one person asked me about Aquaman. They just asked if I was going to see the movie opening night or wait a couple of weekends.
The other overriding theme you will hear is that all the DCEU films were such failures that Aquaman’s success is some sort of anomaly, but guess what? Except for China, Aquaman is doing almost the same amount of business worldwide as the rest of the DCEU movies. The average DCEU film, not counting Aquaman, did $750 Million worldwide, and that is with Justice League pulling the average down. Plus, Suicide Squad couldn’t be screened in China because it featured villains as the main characters, so it broke the moral media code of China Film Co. (the Chinese media importer), and it made $750 Million anyway. In other words, except for a movie that was visibly and aggressively orange, people have been turning out for the DCEU movies, so it should be no surprise that when one comes out un-tinted and fun looking with a hunky man as the lead, people showed up again. Add to that, China has a thing for mermaid movies (look it up), Aquaman looks more like the norm, than an outlier.
Considering the disappointment of Justice League, it was easy to get carried away with all the DCEU is doomed talk, but it turns out maybe people just don’t like orange unfinished movies. If proper care is taken, ‘A’ list superheroes will perform like ‘A’ list superheroes and make tons of cash. Which is to say, when Shazam only makes $600 Million the DCEU world is not ending, because ‘B’ list superheroes will perform like ‘B’ list superheroes and make slightly less cash. Just ask Ant-Man.