It's no secret that the DCEU hasn't enjoyed very much success financially or critically in the past couple of years with four straight films becoming flops at the global box office - all of them grossing just over $900 million combined.
And after reports noted that Aquaman 2 went through major reshoots mere months ago before it closes out this iteration of the DC Universe, all signs point to potential disaster before James Gunn and Peter Safran take on DC Comics' biggest heroes.
DCEU's Final Movie Likely to Flop
Box Office Pro offered a forecast for the box office earnings for the DCEU's final movie, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, with the outlook not looking favorable.
The latest forecast projected Aquaman 2 to earn between $32 million and $42 million between Friday, December 22 and Sunday, December 24.
The forecast also sees Aquaman 2's entire domestic run earning anywhere between $105 million and $168 million.
These projected totals would leave Aquaman 2 with less than half of what its predecessor earned, with Aquaman opening to $67,873,522 in December 2018 and closing its domestic run with $335,061,807. After grossing over $1.14 billion globally, this film is still the DCEU's top earner.
In October 2022, Black Adam opened to just over $67 million in its first weekend and finished its run with $168 million overall domestically, with Dwayne Johnson's solo movie even reporting bigger numbers before earning its status as a flop.
Shazam! Fury of the Gods took an even worse turn to start 2023, only opening to $30 million and closing its domestic run with $57 million in total.
While it became the highest-grossing DC film of 2023, it did so with only $55 million in its opening weekend domestically, only concluding with $108 million overall at the domestic box office. Due to the film reportedly spending over $300 million on production and marketing, it became the biggest flop in DC history.
As for Aquaman 2, there are a few pros and cons in play for its upcoming December debut.
Along with the first Aquaman being a surprisingly big hit for the DCEU, the 2023 holiday season doesn't have any other major event movies close to Aquaman 2's release, giving it a good opportunity to shine with less competition.
Additionally, early presales for tickets are tracking about 25% ahead of Shazam! 2, but 62% behind Black Adam, with the holiday season potentially helping on that front.
Will Aquaman 2 Be a Flop for the DCEU?
Considering how many major failures the DCEU has seen in its final moments, it's almost not shocking to see that Aquaman 2 is tracking down that same path.
Fans began worrying when the film's first trailer broke a record for the DCEU's shortest promotional window, believing that Warner Bros. simply wanted to get the film out quietly with as little controversy as possible.
The sequel is already going through plenty of controversy from the inside thanks to Amber Heard's place in the film after her domestic abuse case against Johnny Depp, with her Mera barely showing up in the film's first trailer.
And with director James Wan already seeing a great deal of negativity surrounding Aquaman 2 ahead of its debut, Warner Bros. will have plenty of challenges in bringing the film the same level of success as it did with Jason Momoa's first film.
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom will debut in theaters on December 22.