As awards season heats up on land, the box office this weekend plunged into the depths of the ocean, with “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” making a respectable, if not record-breaking, splash. Warner Bros.’ sequel to the 2018 blockbuster reeled in $13.7 million on its opening day, dethroning reigning box office champions and proving King Arthur doesn’t hold sway in the underwater empire. While falling short of the original’s $27.7 million debut, the performance suggests audiences remain eager for Jason Momoa‘s aquatic adventures, particularly during the family-friendly holiday season. Early reviews may be a mixed bag, but the film’s dazzling visuals and fantastical spectacle promise to be potent draws for those seeking escapist entertainment.
But beyond Atlantis, the box office waters were murkier for other holiday newcomers. IFC Films’ “Migration,” a poignant drama exploring the human cost of border separation, surfaced with a modest $1.2 million from limited release. Critics laud the film’s emotional depth and timely subject matter, but its restricted rollout hints at a slower, more deliberate climb to recognition. It’s a film that demands attention, not demands it, and may find its audience through word-of-mouth and awards chatter over the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, Lionsgate‘s “Iron Claw,” a biopic chronicling the tumultuous saga of the infamous Von Erich wrestling family, grappled with a $740,000 opening. Zac Efron‘s star power shines as Kevin Von Erich, but the film’s dark subject matter and niche appeal may limit its box office potential. Like a technical submission gone wrong, the film might leave some viewers gasping for air, while others appreciate its unflinching grit. Whether it finds its championship audience remains to be seen.
Rounding out the newcomers is Gravitas Ventures’ romantic comedy “Anyone but You,” which stumbled into theaters with a paltry $286,000 opening. Facing stiff competition and lacking significant marketing buzz, the film’s path to box office success seems as smooth as a pebble-strewn beach. It may yet find its niche audience, but the holiday tide seems to be rolling in a different direction for now.
This weekend’s box office offered a taste of diverse cinematic fare, with audiences diving into familiar depths with “Aquaman 2” and exploring deeper emotional waters with “Migration.” While not all ventures were equally successful, the variety suggests a holiday moviegoing where there’s something for everyone, from fantastical escapism to poignant social commentary. Whether viewers choose to ride the waves of action with Aquaman, wade through the emotional currents of “Migration,” or simply sunbathe on the shores of romantic comedy, the holiday box office promises to be a dynamic landscape where box office champions are crowned and underdogs have a chance to make a splash.