Aquaman 2 Equals A Disappointing DCEU Record First Set By Snyder’s Batman vs Superman

As well as box office woes, James Wan’s Aquaman and The Lost Kingdom has officially equaled an unfortunate DCEU audience record.


  • “Aquaman and The Lost Kingdom” is experiencing a struggling box office performance, matching a franchise low.
  • The muted financial performance aligns with early audience reactions, earning a low CinemaScore of “B”.
  • The marketing campaign for the sequel may have alienated broader audiences, and the promise of a DCU reboot may have deterred fans from seeing the film.

The final DCEU movie, Aquaman and The Lost Kingdom has equaled a franchise low point that explains why its box office performance is struggling so much. The belated sequel to James Wan’s 2018 billion dollar blockbuster closes out the original DCEU movie timeline with James Gunn and Peter Safran’s DCU reboot set to kick off in 2024. And despite the opportunity for DCEU fans to celebrate the series’ swansong, it seems precious few of the original audience are actually returning to cinemas for the sequel.

According to market research firm CinemaScore, that muted financial performance matches up with early audience reactions. Their usual audience polls confirm a DCEU record-equaling low CinemaScore of “B”, putting it alongside The Flash and Zack Snyder’s Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice. CinemaScore poll opening day audiences across 25 major cities in the United States and Canada, asking participants to fill in a scorecard in the theater immediately after they watch the movies. That score is then used to help predict box office performance, as well as aggregating an anecdotal audience experience score.

Every DCEU Movie CinemaScore

Man of Steel


Batman V Superman


Suicide Squad


Wonder Woman


Justice League






Birds of Prey


Wonder Woman 1984


The Suicide Squad


Black Adam


Shazam! Fury of the Gods


The Flash


Blue Beetle


Aquaman and The Lost Kingdom



Aquaman & The Lost Kingdom Ending Explained (In Detail)

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom ending brings the DCEU franchise to a close with Jason Momoa’s aquatic king of Atlantis facing Black Manta.

Why So Few Aquaman Fans Are Seeing The Lost Kingdom

Aquaman and The Lost Kingdom‘s early box office performance is the result of a number of factors. The marketing campaign was decidedly muted compared to the original movies, potentially alienating broader audiences. And with the promise of the DCU reboot looming large on the horizon, DC movie fans could be forgiven for having little reason to commit to seeing the sequel. After all, what stakes can there really be when nothing matters in a bigger picture? It hardly helps that for several DCEU releases in a row, Aquaman has been the butt of several misplaced jokes.

Justice League, Peacemaker, and Shazam! Fury of the Gods all made needless jokes at the expense of Aquaman’s superpowers, while The Flash’s post-credits scene painted him as a drunken fool.

There is some expectation that the Christmas period and a necessarily limited Christmas Eve market (thanks to shortened hours) could offer some hope for better box office performance in the near future, but it will be nothing like Aquaman‘s $1.152 billion total. The movie is far from terrible, but it feels like it’s working so hard to be of real interest, and wasn’t met with the kind of glowing early reviews that can make the difference. Unfortunately, as ScreenRant’s Aquaman 2 review stated, Jason Momoa’s return as Arthur Curry rather means the DCEU has ended not with a bang, but with a damp whimper.

Aquaman and the lost kingdom movie poster

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is the sequel to the 2018 film that sees Jason Momoa reprise his role as Arthur Curry (AKA Aquaman.) In the film, Aquaman is forced to forge a strained alliance with a new ally to protect his kingdom of Atlantis and the world from total destruction. 

Release Date
December 22, 2023


124 Minutes

Aquaman and The Lost Kingdom is in cinemas now.

Key Release Dates