Here’s How Much ‘Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom’ Needs To Earn To Become Profitable

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom

‘Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom,’ the highly anticipated sequel in the DC Extended Universe, has set sail with a substantial budget of $205 million. In an era where blockbuster budgets often sail high, this underwater adventure faces the challenge of not just making waves at the box office but also achieving profitability. Amidst changing market dynamics and less intensive promotion due to the DCEU’s conclusion and the SAG-AFTRA strike, this sequel swims against the current to reach its break-even point. We dive deep to explore how much ‘Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom‘ needs to gross to turn the tide in its favor.

  • Article Breakdown:
  • ‘Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom’ carries a substantial production budget of $205 million, requiring a global box office earning of approximately $512.5 million to break even.
  • The film’s profitability is challenged by the reduced promotional activities due to the SAG-AFTRA strike and the conclusion of the DCEU, impacting its marketing reach.
  • Early box office projections for the sequel in the U.S. and Canada indicate an opening between $32 million and $42 million, significantly lower compared to the first ‘Aquaman’ film’s performance.
  • The original ‘Aquaman’ movie achieved remarkable success, with a budget of $160-200 million and a global earning of $1.152 billion, setting a high bar for its sequel.

Aquaman’s break-even challenge

The journey to profitability for ‘Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom’ is akin to navigating treacherous ocean depths. With a production budget soaring to $205 million, the film must perform exceptionally well to break even. Calculating the break-even point isn’t straightforward; it hinges on several factors, including box office splits and marketing costs. In the complex world of movie economics, a general rule of thumb is that a film needs to earn approximately 2.5 times its budget to be considered profitable. This accounts for the share taken by movie theaters and other distribution costs. For ‘Aquaman 2’, this means it needs to make a colossal $512.5 million globally. This figure is especially daunting considering the reduced promotional activities due to the SAG-AFTRA strike and the winding down of the DCEU.


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The dynamics of box office earnings are split between domestic and international revenues. Traditionally, studios receive a larger share from domestic earnings, around 60%, compared to 20%-40% from international markets. This discrepancy is crucial for ‘Aquaman 2’, as it means that a significant portion of its required revenue must come from international audiences, a challenging feat given the current global market trends and lessened promotional efforts. The high break-even threshold set against these factors paints a daunting picture of the movie’s financial success.

Aquaman’s past success and present projections

Reflecting on the past success of the first ‘Aquaman’ film offers a glimpse into the potential fate of its sequel. The original ‘Aquaman’ had a budget ranging between $160-200 million and made an astonishing $1.152 billion worldwide, marking it as a phenomenal success. Its first 24-hour pre-sale totals were record-breaking, surpassing even ‘Avengers: Infinity War.’ The film notably made $2.9 million from Amazon preview screenings alone, signaling strong audience interest. In its opening weekend in the United States and Canada, ‘Aquaman’ grossed between $65-70 million, wrapping up with a domestic total of $105.7 million over its first five days. These numbers were a testament to its widespread appeal and effective marketing strategies at the time.


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In contrast, ‘Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom’ faces a different landscape. Early projections suggest an opening between $32 million and $42 million in the U.S. and Canada, with a long-range forecast predicting a domestic total of $105 million to $168 million. This is a significant drop from its predecessor, reflecting changing consumer interests and the reduced hype around the DCEU. Additionally, the film’s marketing approach has been impacted by external factors like the actors’ union strike, leading to less exposure than usual for a superhero movie of this scale. These factors combined indicate that while ‘Aquaman 2’ may still enjoy success, reaching the heights of its predecessor seems an uphill battle, particularly when it comes to achieving profitability.

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