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Box office: ‘Aquaman’ keeps the box office crown as ‘Mary Poppins Returns' sings to No. 2

Box office: ‘Aquaman’ keeps the box office crown as ‘Mary Poppins Returns' sings to No. 2
Jason Momoa stars as the DC Comics superhero in the Warner Bros. hit "Aquaman." (Warner Bros.)

The fish man did it again. Raking in $51.6 million in its second weekend, Warner Bros.’ blockbuster adventure “Aquaman,” directed by James Wan and starring Jason Momoa as the DC Comics superhero, topped the post-Christmas box office to keep the No. 1 crown, according to estimates from measurement firm Comscore.

Holiday crowds hungered for Momoa’s groundbreaking Aquaman, propelling the CG undersea action picture to $188.8 million domestically. Boasting an A-minus CinemaScore, the film’s global take has reached nearly $750 million.

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Eating up the holiday ticket sales in a record-setting year at the box office, the movie dropped just 29% from last week’s $72.1-million debut. It has already bested the total worldwide performances of DC predecessors “Suicide Squad” ($746.8 million), “Man of Steel” ($668 million) and “Justice League” ($657.9 million), the installment that introduced Momoa’s aquatic hero.

Emily Blunt stars as the magical nanny in "Mary Poppins Returns"
Emily Blunt stars as the magical nanny in "Mary Poppins Returns" (Disney)

Fast approaching the $100-million mark despite falling short of analyst and studio projections, Disney’s musical “Mary Poppins Returns” entered its second weekend with something to sing about, taking in $28 million, up 19% from its $22.2-million opening for a $98.9 million-domestic accumulation.

Imaginative family-friendly visuals and the power of Emily Blunt in the title role helped “Mary Poppins Returns” hold a firm second-place position in the final moviegoing days of 2018 as last week’s top five performers repeated their rankings, with a few new and notable indies joining the fray.

Sitting in third place is the delightful Paramount spinoff “Bumblebee,” the latest addition to the “Transformers” franchise, which notched an additional $20.5 million for a two-week domestic take of $66.8 million.

Hailee Steinfeld anchors the 1980s-set adventure about a rad teenage girl and her Autobot, which claimed an impressive mere 5% drop; at 93% on Rotten Tomatoes, the female-led installment battling it out against tough superhero competition is by far the best-reviewed film in the “Transformers” series.

Shameik Moore voices Miles Morales in Sony's "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse"
Shameik Moore voices Miles Morales in Sony's "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" (Sony)

Making an even stronger case that diversity sells at the box office is Sony’s “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” a dynamic new spin on the Marvel Comics lore that has garnered critical plaudits. Golden Globe-nominated for animated feature, it scored the No. 4 slot with an additional $18.3 million in its third week in release.

Audiences have sprung for “Into the Spider-Verse,” which stars Shameik Moore as Miles Morales, an Afro-Latino Brooklyn teenager who takes up the Spider-mantle. The innovative animated adventure produced by “Lego Movie” duo Phil Lord and Chris Miller has tallied a $103.6-million domestic total, pushing past $200 million worldwide.

Notching $11.8 million more to hold onto fifth place is Clint Eastwood’s “The Mule,” starring the director himself as an octogenarian who takes a job running drugs for a Mexican cartel. Eastwood’s 37th film as director has now earned a North American total of $60.73 million.

Christian Bale is Golden Globe-nominated for his portrayal of Dick Cheney in "Vice."
Christian Bale is Golden Globe-nominated for his portrayal of Dick Cheney in "Vice." (Annapurna Pictures)

Riding high off six Golden Globe nods, director Adam McKay’s razor-edged Dick Cheney dramedy “Vice” opened Christmas Day and earned $7.8 million this weekend to take the No. 6 spot. Christian Bale disappears into his role of the former vice president in the politically charged pic from Oscar-winner McKay, which brings its tally to $17.7 million.

Upending Arthur Conan Doyle’s most famous literary creation with Will Ferrell as the crack London detective and John C. Reilly as his faithful BFF, “Holmes & Watson” opened Christmas Day to dismal reviews and reports of walkouts. Nevertheless, the movie enjoyed a $7.3-million weekend for a total of $19.7 million.

Lovers of the romantic comedy genre pushed the Jennifer Lopez vehicle “Second Act” to the No. 8 slot, as it took in $7.2 million, bringing its total to $21.8 million in its second weekend, while kiddie fare “Ralph Breaks the Internet” and “The Grinch” rounded out the top 10 with $6.5 million and $4.2 million, respectively.

Elsewhere, Reliance Entertainment’s Bollywood import “Simmba” scored $1.7 million from 300 locations in its first week, while Focus Features’ Ruth Bader Ginsberg film “On the Basis of Sex” (the second picture this year centered on the U.S. Supreme Court justice, following the hit documentary “RBG”) made $690,000 with a weekend-best $20,909 per-screen average, totaling $1.5 million for its three-day after opening on Christmas.

Strong women made for robust screen averages for Annapurna Pictures as Karyn Kusama’s crime thriller “Destroyer,” starring Nicole Kidman as a cop chasing ghosts from her past, collared $19,491 per screen in just three locations for a $58,472 weekend, taking in $116,000 to date. Also from Annapurna, Barry Jenkins’ critically acclaimed “If Beale Street Could Talk” jumped nearly 600% as it expanded from five to 65 locations in its third week, taking in $759,579 for a total just shy of $2 million.

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