‘Aquaman & the Lost Kingdom’ Earns a “B” CinemaScore

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‘Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom’ hit theaters this Friday, and early indicators from the box office are less than promising. Notably, the previews alone show that ‘Aquaman’ has garnered lower earnings compared to ‘The Marvels’ and ‘The Flash,’ both considered significant superhero flops in recent years.

Several factors contribute to the potential for a lackluster performance. Firstly, it marks the official conclusion of the DCEU before the transition to Gunn’s DCU, with recent buzz centered around the upcoming ‘Superman: Legacy.’ Secondly, fan discontent is evident, particularly regarding Amber Heard’s return to the movie after her highly publicized legal battle with former spouse Johnny Depp. Thirdly, the critical promotional phase, ‘Aquaman,’ faced a setback due to the recent conclusion of the historic SAG-AFTRA strike.

Despite Jason Momoa’s star power, the film hasn’t generated the same level of excitement as its predecessor, making it challenging to surpass the previous success. Critical reception mirrors audience sentiments, as the film holds a 36% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 141 critic reviews. CinemaScore also assigned a “B” grade, placing it alongside ‘Batman V Superman’ and ‘The Flash.’ It’s noteworthy that the first Aquaman installment received an “A” grade, aligning with the initial success of ‘Man of Steel’ in the DCEU.

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In a year where ‘Shazam! Fury of the Gods’ and ‘Blue Beetle’ landed on B+ grades, the collective sentiment suggests that 2023 hasn’t been stellar for the cinematic universe. For those unfamiliar with CinemaScore grades, a “B” indicates a mixed overall audience reaction—neither overwhelmingly positive nor negative.

With the first box office results imminent, the prevailing sentiment is not whether the movie will falter but rather the extent of its underperformance.

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