Aquaman is a 2018 American superhero film based on the DC character of the same name. Co-produced and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, it is the sixth film in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU). The film was directed by James Wan from a screenplay by David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick and Will Beall. It stars Jason Momoa as Arthur Curry / Aquaman, who sets out to lead the underwater kingdom of Atlantis and stop his half-brother, King Orm, from uniting the seven underwater kingdoms to destroy the surface world. Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson, Dolph Lundgren, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, and Nicole Kidman appear in supporting roles.
Development began in 2004 but did not gain traction until Man of Steel was released in 2013. In August 2014, Beall and Kurt Johnstad were hired to write competing scripts. Wan signed on as director in April 2015, and in July 2016, the film moved forward with Beall's screenplay. The main cast was confirmed through 2016 and early 2017. Principal photography began in Australia in May 2017, taking place at Village Roadshow Studios on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia, with additional production teams in Canada, Italy and Morocco. Filming concluded the following October. Several vendors provided visual effects, ranging from high-detail hair simulations to the creation of CGI animals and locations.
Aquaman premiered in London on November 26, 2018, and was released in the United States on December 21. It grossed $1.150 billion
worldwide on a budget of $160–200 million, making it the highest-grossing DCEU film, the highest-grossing film based on a DC Comics character, the fifth-highest-grossing film of 2018, and the 20th highest-grossing film of all time. An animated miniseries set after the film, Aquaman: King of Atlantis, aired from October 14 to October 28, 2021, while a live-action sequel film, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, is set to be released on December 20, 2023.
In 1985 Maine, lighthouse keeper Thomas Curry rescues Atlanna, the queen of the underwater kingdom of Atlantis, during a storm. They fall in love and have a son named Arthur, who has the power to communicate with sea creatures. When Atlantean soldiers sent by King Orvax (the ruler of Atlantis) arrive to retrieve Atlanna, who fled her arranged marriage in Atlantis, she defeats them but is forced to leave her family to protect them from her people. She promises to return when it becomes safe to do so and goes back to Atlantis, entrusting her advisor, Nuidis Vulko, to train Arthur. Becoming a skilled warrior, Arthur rejects Atlantis upon learning that Atlanna was executed by Orvax for loving a human and having a half-breed son.
In the present, Arthur has become known as the metahuman dubbed as the "Aquaman" by the public. One year after Steppenwolf's
defeat, Arthur confronts pirates hijacking a Russian Akula-class submarine. Their leader is killed in a failed attempt to kill Arthur, and the leader's son David vows revenge. King Orm Marius, Orvax's son (who is now Atlantis's new ruler after his father died) and Arthur's younger half-brother, convinces King Nereus of Xebel to help unite Atlantis and destroy the surface world for
oceans. If Orm unites all four kingdoms, he will receive the title of Ocean Master, commander of the most powerful force on the planet. Nereus agrees to help after they are attacked by the hijacked submarine.
Nereus' daughter Mera, betrothed to Orm, refuses to aid them and requests Arthur's help. Although refusing at first, Arthur accompanies her back to Atlantis after Orm sends a tsunami that nearly kills his father. There, Vulko urges him to find the Trident of Atlan, a magic artifact of Atlantis' first ruler, to reclaim his rightful place as king. They are ambushed by Orm's men, and Arthur is captured. Orm blames him for Atlanna's death and nearly kills him in a duel before Mera rescues him. Arthur and Mera journey to the fallen Kingdom of the Deserters hidden under the Sahara desert, where the trident was forged, and unlock a holographic message that leads them to Sicily, Italy, where they retrieve the trident's coordinates.
Orm gives David a prototype Atlantean battle suit to kill Arthur, imprisons Vulko, and coerces the Kingdom of the Fishermen to pledge their allegiance to him by killing their king and forcing the queen and princess to accept. It is also revealed that Orm hired David and his father to hijack the Russian submarine (which is the same one that attacked Atlantis earlier) to win Nereus's support. An armored David rechristens himself as Black Manta and injures Arthur, but Arthur manages to defeat David. At their destination, Arthur and Mera fend off amphibious monsters of the Trench, and a wormhole transports them to an uncharted sea at the center of the Earth. They are reunited with Atlanna, who was sacrificed to the Trench for Arthur's illegitimate birth 20 years ago, but had survived and escaped to the uncharted sea, alive and well.
Arthur faces the Karathen, a mythical leviathan and keeper of the trident, and voices his determination to protect both Atlantis and the surface, reclaiming the trident, which grants him control over the seven seas. Orm leads his army against the Kingdom of the Brine to declare himself Ocean Master, while Arthur, with Mera, Karathen, and the Trench, lead an army of marine creatures against him. Orm's followers embrace Arthur as the true king upon learning that he wields Atlan's trident. Arthur defeats Orm but spares his life, and Orm accepts his imprisonment after discovering that Arthur rescued their mother. Atlanna reunites with Thomas as promised, while Arthur ascends to the throne.
In a mid-credits scene, David is rescued by Dr. Stephen Shin, a marine scientist and conspiracy theorist obsessed with Atlantis, and agrees to lead Shin there in exchange for help in his revenge on Arthur.
Jason Momoa as Arthur Curry / Aquaman: A half-Atlantean, half-human who is reluctant to be king of the undersea nation of Atlantis. He is a member of the Justice League. He possesses
strength, durability, and has the ability to manipulate hydrokinesis, the tides, communicate with sea creatures and swim at supersonic speeds. A younger Arthur Curry is portrayed by various actors, including Kobi Booker as the infant, Tainu and Tamor Kirkwood at age 3, Kaan Guldur at age 9, Otis Dhanji at age 13 and Kekoa Kekumano at age 16.
Amber Heard as Mera: The princess of Xebel, Arthur Curry's love interest, a warrior and daughter of King Nereus. She was raised by Queen Atlanna and groomed to become queen. Mera possesses hydrokinetic and telepathic powers that allow her to control her aquatic environment and communicate with other
Willem Dafoe as Vulko: Atlantis' vizier, who mentored the young Arthur and trains him to fight. Dafoe was digitally de-aged for the flashback scenes.
Patrick Wilson as King Orm: Arthur Curry's Atlantean half-brother and king of Atlantis, who seeks to unite the seven underwater kingdoms and become the Ocean Master to declare war on the surface world for humanity's desecration of the seas. Wilson previously voiced the President of the United States of America in the DC Extended Universe film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016).
Dolph Lundgren as King Nereus: The king of the Atlantean tribe of Xebel and Mera's father, whom Orm tricks into an alliance through false pretenses.
Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as David Kane / Black Manta: A ruthless
pirate and a high-seas mercenary with a flair for creating deadly technological innovations. He is not referred to by his civilian name in the film and is credited simply as "Manta".
Ludi Lin as Captain Murk: The commander of the Men-of-War, the frontline army of Atlantis.
Temuera Morrison as Tom Curry: Arthur's father and a lighthouse keeper.
Nicole Kidman as Atlanna: The Queen of Atlantis, mother of Arthur Curry and Orm.
Randall Park portrays Doctor Stephen Shin, a marine biologist obsessed with finding the lost city of Atlantis.
Graham McTavish appears as King Atlan, the first king of Atlantis and the ancestor of Atlanna, Arthur, and Orm. Michael Beach plays Jessie, Manta's father and the leader of their group of ocean
Leigh Whannell, director Wan's longtime film collaborator, appears in the film as a cargo pilot.
Julie Andrews provides the voice of Karathen, a mythical leviathan and keeper of the Trident of Atlan who allies with Aquaman.
John Rhys-Davies voices the Brine King and Djimon Hounsou voices King Ricou of the
Fishermen, while both of these characters are portrayed on screen through motion capture performed by Andrew Crawford.
Natalia Safran and Sophia Forrest provide the voice and motion capture of Fishermen Queen Rina and Fishermen Princess Scales, respectively.
In 2004, FilmJerk.com reported that Sunrise Entertainment's Alan and Peter Riche planned to bring Aquaman to the big screen for Warner Bros., with Robert Ben Garant writing the screenplay. However, the attempt fell through. In 2007, Warner Bros. announced the development of a Justice League film with Michele and Kieran Mulroney writing the screenplay. The film, reportedly titled Justice League: Mortal, would have been Aquaman's cinematic debut. George Miller signed on to direct later that year. However, the film would be cancelled following production delays stemming from the 2007–08 Writers Guild of America strike. Prior to the film's cancellation in 2008, actor Santiago Cabrera had been cast as Aquaman. In July 2009, it was reported that Aquaman was in development at Leonardo DiCaprio's Appian Way. Warner chairman and CEO Barry Meyer said that an Aquaman film was in development. After Man of Steel's release in 2013, a source from Warner Bros. told The Wrap that they were discussing future films, with the mention of more Man of Steel movies as well as a Superman/Batman film, a Wonder Woman film and an Aquaman film. Geoff Johns told Variety that
Aquaman was a priority character. On August 12, 2014, Warner Bros. announced that it had hired screenwriters Will Beall and Kurt Johnstad to pen separate scripts. The film was developed on dual tracks, although only the better version would move forward.
In October 2014, Warner Bros. announced Aquaman as a part of the DC Extended Universe, with Jason Momoa starring. On October 20, 2014, Momoa revealed that he was preparing for a Justice League film, and that he did not know whether a solo Aquaman film would come before or after. He thought it might be an origin story. In December 2014, it was revealed that Momoa had signed a four-picture deal with the studio and DC, and he wanted Zack Snyder to direct.
On January 13, 2016, The Hollywood Reporter announced that Amber Heard had entered negotiations to play Mera; her casting was confirmed two months later. In April 2016, Willem Dafoe was cast in an undisclosed role, later revealed to be Nuidis Vulko. On December 12, 2016, it was confirmed that Patrick Wilson would play Aquaman's half-brother. On January 31, 2017, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II was added to the cast as Black Manta, Aquaman's archenemy in the comics. Michael K. Williams was also considered for the role. That same day, press reports noted that Nicole Kidman had entered talks to play Queen Atlanna. Two months later, Kidman confirmed her participation.
By February 2017, New Zealand actor Temuera Morrison had entered talks to play Thomas Curry. On April 12, Dolph Lundgren was cast as Nereus. Ludi Lin was cast in the film on May 15, 2017. Almost two weeks later, Michael Beach, who voiced Devil Ray, a character loosely based on Black Manta in Justice League Unlimited, was cast as Black Manta's father. In October 2017, Graham McTavish revealed that he had a role. In April 2018, Randall Park was cast as Dr. Stephen Shin, and in July, Djimon Hounsou, Natalia Safran and Sophia Forrest were cast as the Fisherman King, Fisherman Queen, and Fisherman Princess, respectively. In November 2018, it was revealed that Julie Andrews had a voice role.
Principal photography began in Australia on May 2, 2017, under the working title Ahab. A majority of the film was shot at Village Roadshow Studios in
Gold Coast, Queensland, with additional production in Newfoundland, Sicily and Morocco. Between May and August 2017, location shooting took place on the Australian Gold Coast, including Main Beach, Coomera, Southport and Amity Point in North Stradbroke Island, Queensland, as well as Hastings Point, in New South Wales. On filming underwater sequences, Wan stated that "the underwater world is super complicated" and "it's not an easy shoot".
Filming would have begun on the Lighthouse set at Hastings Point on August 11, 2017, and ended later that month. Filming took place in Newfoundland and Labrador. Willem Dafoe finished up his part by late September On October 13, James Wan announced that Patrick Wilson had wrapped. Filming on location took place in Morocco by mid-October, which included the cities of Merzouga and Erfoud. Principal photography wrapped on October 21, 2017.
Two thousand three hundred visual effects shots (VFX) appear in the movie, completed by Lucasfilm's Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), Base FX, Rodeo FX, Scanline VFX, DNEG, Luma Pictures, Weta Digital, Moving Picture Company (MPC), Method Studios, Digital Domain and Clear Angle
Studios. The visual effects for the director's cut were created at the same time as the theatrical
ILM was the lead VFX vendor and worked on creating Atlantis and all its CGI animals, the Karathen and the final battle. Jeff White served as the VFX supervisor for ILM. For the underwater sequences, the actors were shot dry-for-wet on special tuning fork rigs designed by the FX team, and later the bodies of the actors were replaced with digital doubles in post-production. For creating Atlantis, the team relied on the designs provided by the art department. ILM's environment team created over 200 buildings, including the signature jellyfish buildings, and laid over 7,000 buildings in districts covering almost 600 square miles for the action to travel through. The underwater ships were modeled off organic creatures and designed to move that way. For the entrance to the Atlantis sequence, the team built over 150,000 ships to fill the traffic lanes leading into Atlantis. All the animals, including the Karathen, were built by ILM and animated using keyframe animation.
Approximately 700 shots in the film required high-detail hair simulations. ILM had to significantly improve its hair simulation software due to the unique aspects of hair flowing underwater. Normally, hair simulations use guide strands to define or influence the movement of groups of hair strands. This did not provide a satisfying look, so ultimately, ILM simulated strands individually, which required heavy computations. Additionally, Wan wanted to be able to direct the hair when the physically accurate simulation resulted in undesirable results. ILM delivered 670 shots.
Weta Digital handled most of the digital de-aging involved in the film. They digitally de-aged Nicole Kidman and Temuera Morrison for flashback sequences. DNEG digitally de-aged Willem Dafoe for the scene where his character Nuidis Vulko trains the young Arthur.
Jay Barton served as the VFX supervisor for Digital Domain. They worked on creating the Dead King's Island environment. For the sequence, the actors were shot in a pool of water against blue screen backgrounds, with Digital Domain adding CGI extensions, waterfalls, mountains and dinosaurs in post production. Most of the waterfalls in the scene were created using Houdini, while some were created using practical elements of things such as pouring salt and glass beads. They also built an extensive library of shot FX elements. The dinosaurs were animated using keyframe animation. Digital Domain delivered 19-20 shots.
David Nelson and Craig Wentworth served as VFX supervisors for Method Studios. Method handled the Sicily fight sequence between Arthur, Mera and Black Manta; Arthur's encounter with the Karathen in the Well of the Souls; and his acquisition of Atlan's trident. For the Sicily fight sequence, the team built the main square of the Italian village and terracotta tiled roof set pieces that were backed with blue screen. A completely CGI village was also created based on scans and documentation of the real village. For the Well of the Souls sequence, Momoa was filmed dry-for-wet and captured on set in rigs that simulated underwater movements, but they ultimately felt restrictive so artists replaced the majority of his performance with a digital body double and added the CGI environment, Karathen and Arthur's free-flowing locks. A specially designed 700fps shot was used in the scene where the camera travels through Arthur's eyes.
Rodeo FX worked on two key sequences, with Sebastien Moreau as VFX Supervisor. For the aquarium that young Arthur visits near the beginning, Rodeo FX used simulations as well as algorithms for the fish behavior. They created hard and soft corals by developing a colonization growth system, along with procedural stem and tentacle generation tools. They also created the environments for the Atlantis ruins below the desert. Artists used a Lego-type approach to layer the environment with a large amount of sand, dust and rocks, all of which would realistically give way to the characters' interactions. From there, they sculpted ruined buildings, bridges, towers, statues and temples, which were textured and shaded to add depth to the ruined city.
Scanline VFX delivered 450 shots. Bryan Hirota served as VFX supervisor. The main sequences produced by them were the lighthouse and its surrounding environment, the "Aquaman" title card that follows the Boston aquarium, Aquaman pushing the submarine to the surface and rescuing the sailors inside, Orm's tidal wave that sweeps away Arthur and Tom, including the rescue and aftermath, Black Manta being paid by Orm for the submarine's delivery, and Arthur and Mera's visit to the Kingdom of the Trench. For the title card, the team relied on Rodeo's work on the aquarium sequence and simulated up to 60,000 fish. The tidal wave sequence was realized with a large-scale simulated wave, which was integrated with a combination of day-for-night footage, blue screen shots for the actors in truck interiors, a truck on a rotisserie rig, an interior cabin in a water tank, and VFX simulations for debris. For creating the lighthouse, a full-size house with the base of the lighthouse tower was constructed by the FX team. Additional house and dock sets were built on sound stages. A digital build-out was done to complete the lighthouse tower and extend the dock fully out into the sea. For the sequence where the camera pushes into a toy snow globe with a tiny lighthouse inside, a CGI transition was created from the lighthouse's living room set to a fully CGI winter coastline. For creating the Trench creatures, motion capture was done on set by stunt performers.
James Wan's five-time collaborator Kirk Morri served as the editor for Aquaman. Two-time Academy Award winner Charles Gibson (Babe and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest) and Kelvin McIlwain (Fast & Furious franchise) served as overall visual effects supervisors. On November 3, 2018, Wan announced that post-production was complete.
Some additional detail of blood was removed from the UK version of the film to achieve a lower age rating.
In March 2017, prior to filming, a first look at Aquaman was shown during CinemaCon in Las Vegas, Nevada, with Momoa introducing a video of director James Wan displaying a concept art sizzle reel. Later, on July 22, the film's footage made its debut at San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) 2017 with a teaser presented by Momoa during the Warner Bros. panel; director Wan presented the footage, stating that "in a lot of ways, this is an origin story," In April 2018, another teaser, with new footage, was shown by Wan and Momoa at CinemaCon, joined by Amber Heard, Patrick Wilson and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II on stage. Wan teased the conflict between Arthur and Ocean Master, stating that "it's almost a very classic Shakespearean story about brother from another world vs. brother from another world. And it really is a classic story of sibling rivalry."
On June 11, 2018, the film's first trailer was previewed at CineEurope. On July 21, 2018, the first trailer was released at SDCC 2018, considered the best received trailer; it was later attached to theatrical showings of Teen Titans Go! To the Movies, Mission: Impossible – Fallout, The Meg, The Predator and Venom. The cast appeared on Sunday, July 22, as guests on Conan with Conan O'Brien during SDCC. By late August the studio held early test screenings with mixed reactions shared on social media describing the film as good but not great. On October 5, 2018, a 5-minute Extended Video was released by Warner Bros. The first official TV spot for the film came on October 16, followed by a second on November 1. The same month, character posters were released for Aquaman, Mera, Black Manta, Ocean Master, King Nereus, Queen Atlanna and Nuidis Vulko.
On November 7, the studio announced the promotion tour schedule, which would take place during November and December with fan events, screenings and premieres, including Beijing, London, New York City, Manila, Los Angeles, Miami, Gold Coast, Sydney and Honolulu. Additionally, it was announced that the film would be screened on December 7, 2018, during Brazil Comic Con (CCXP) in São Paulo. The following week, an official behind the scenes featurette was released, which included footage not seen in the mainstream trailers. Two days later, the film's two main posters were released, depicting Aquaman and Mera in their costumes. On November 19 the final trailer was released, alongside the announcement of ticket sales. The same day, 30 minutes of footage was shown in China during the first stop of the film's promotion tour, generating rave reactions.
The film's financial success has been attributed to the studio's marketing plan that attracted a broad demographic (particularly women) through advertising, social media and promotional partners.
CRITICS AND BOX OFFICE
Aquaman grossed $335.1 million in the United States and Canada and $813.4 million in other territories, for a total worldwide gross of $1.150 billion. It became the highest-grossing installment in the DCEU and the highest-grossing film based on any DC character as well as Warner Bros.' second-highest-grossing film worldwide behind Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 ($1.342 billion). Deadline Hollywood calculated the net profit of the film to be $260.5 million when factoring together all expenses and revenues, making it the fifth-most-profitable release of 2018.
The day after announcing the early Amazon screenings, Aquaman's first 24-hour pre-sale totals became the highest in the history of Atom Tickets, beating out Avengers: Infinity War as well as outpacing Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, another film Amazon Prime had offered early to subscribers the previous December. The film made $2.9 million from the Amazon preview screenings at 1,225 theaters, higher than the $1.86 million made by Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. In the United States and Canada, Aquaman was released alongside Bumblebee, Second Act and Welcome to Marwen and was projected to gross $65–70 million in its opening weekend and $120 million over its first five days (with some tracking figures going as high as $150 million). The film made $28 million on its first day, including $9 million from Thursday night previews (a total of $13.7 million including the Amazon screenings and a Wednesday preview). It went on to debut at $67.9 million ($73.2 million including all early showings), topping the box office but marking the lowest opening of the DCEU. It then made $11 million on Monday and $22.1 million on Christmas Day, one of six films to ever gross over $20 million on the holiday; its five-day total opening was $105.7 million. The film made $52.1 million in its second weekend, a drop of 23%, as well as $10.1 million on New Year's Eve and $16.8 million on New Year's Day. The film then remained in first place for a third consecutive weekend, grossing $31 million. The film made $17.4 million in its fourth weekend of release but was dethroned by The Upside, which exceeded expectations to become STX Films' first number one box office opening with $20.4 million. Aquaman also crossed the $1 billion mark that same weekend after earning $758.3 million and $940 million worldwide in both its second and third weekends.
In China, where the film was released two weeks prior to its US debut, the film made $24.6 million (¥169.5 million) on its first day, representing 86% of the market share and setting a Warner Bros. opening-day record in the country. It went on to debut at $93.6 million (¥644.8 million), marking the best-ever opening for the DCEU, Warner Bros,. and a December release in the country. It overtook the entire lifetime gross of Wonder Woman there in just three days. The film grossed $12.99 million on Monday, thus crossing $100 million ($107.7 million). By Thursday, its fifth day, the film had made $135.3 million, surpassing the lifetime totals of every solo Marvel Cinematic Universe film. As of April 4, 2019, the film had grossed $298.33 million in China. In the Philippines, Aquaman is the biggest Warner Bros. and DC film of all time, with a cumulative gross of PhP 536.4 million, surpassing Justice League and becoming the 6th-most-successful film of all time in the country. The film became the highest-grossing film of the decade in Romania. South Korea is the second-biggest market with $39.1 million.
Review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reports that 65% of 414 critics gave the film a positive review, with an average rating of 6/10. The website's critical consensus reads: "Aquaman swims with its entertainingly ludicrous tide, offering up CGI superhero spectacle that delivers energetic action with an emphasis on good old-fashioned fun." Metacritic surveyed 50 critics and assigned a weighted average score of 55 out of 100, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A−" on an A+ to F scale, while those polled by PostTrak gave it four out of five stars.
Peter Debruge of Variety criticized the dialogue but praised the production design, action scenes and the final act, writing, "The biggest surprise here is how, after the running time of a standard-length film has elapsed, Aquaman suddenly kicks the movie up a level for the finale. At just the moment this critic's eyes tend to glaze over in superhero
movies - typically, as the villain goes nuclear and a portal to another dimension opens, threatening to destroy the
planet - Wan unleashes a massive deep-sea battle on par with The Lord of the Rings." Germain Lussier of io9 wrote "Aquaman is all about spectacle. It's filled with ambition. It's always about trying to put the coolest, most imaginative sequence on screen at every single turn of the story, no matter what the cost." Writing for TheWrap, William Bibbiani called the film "a weird and wonderful superhero adventure that
strives - and almost succeeds - to be the most epic superhero movie ever made."
Writing for Rolling Stone, Peter Travers gave the film 2+1⁄2 out of 5 stars, praising Wan's ambition and Momoa's performance but criticizing the plot and dialogue, writing: "Aquaman is a mess of clashing tones and shameless silliness, but a relief after all the franchise's recent superhero gloom." Chris Nashawaty of Entertainment Weekly graded the film a C−, writing, "It can't decide if it wants to be silly or serious—a superhero movie or a parody of one...Unfortunately, the bloated, waterlogged film is loaded with crummy CGI, cheesy costumes, and groaner dialogue delivered by actors who are too good to traffic in such
nonsense". For the Chicago Tribune, Michael Phillips gave the film 1.5 stars out of 4, criticizing the film's script and Wan's direction, saying, "Watching this movie is like spending two hours and 27 minutes staring at a gigantic aquarium full of digital sea creatures and actors on wires, pretending to swim."
Matt Zoller Seitz of RogerEbert.com gave Aquaman three-and-a-half out of four stars, positively comparing the film to SpongeBob SquarePants in its lack of concern for scientific accuracy, along with praising the treatment of characters crying as "a normal byproduct of pain or joy" instead of "a shameful loss of dignity". Seitz stated that "It takes skill to be as ridiculous as this movie.... [Aquaman]... feels simultaneously like a spoof and an operatic melodrama. Any film that can combine those modes is a force to be reckoned with."
SEQUEL - AQUAMAN AND THE LOST KINGDOM
In December 2018, it was reported that Warner Bros. Pictures Group chairman Toby Emmerich had the studio start developing a sequel. Discussions of a follow-up film had begun during post-production, when director James Wan stated to TotalFilm that the first film purposefully left room for further stories. Jason Momoa told Syfy Wire that he had the beginning for a sequel written, and that after he pitched it to the studio through Emmerich and Safran, they were receptive and enthusiastic. In January 2019, the sequel was officially confirmed to be in development, with the studio courting Wan to return. The following month, David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick, co-writer of the first film, signed on as the screenwriter.
Bros. confirmed via The Hollywood Reporter in February 2019 that the studio has set a release date of December 16, 2022, with pre-production set to begin in 2020. In October 2019, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II told Uproxx that he will reprise his role as Black Manta for the sequel. In November 2020, Amber Heard confirmed to Entertainment Weekly that she will be reprising her role as Mera in the sequel, with shooting to begin in 2021. In March 2021, DiscussingFilm reported that the film is looking to begin filming this June in the UK under the production title "Necrus" and that Richard Sale will join the project as a costume designer. The working title has roots in Aquaman lore and may allude to the underwater city of Necrus making an appearance. In April 2021, Pilou Asbæk entered talks to join the cast. In June 2021, the film's title was revealed as Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. Creature Designer Ken Barthelmey is working on the designs. On June 28, 2021, Wan posted a photo on Instagram, announcing that production on the sequel has begun.
doubt the timing of the follow up was affected by the
litigation between Amber Heard and Johnny
Depp. Since Ms Heard
was found guilty of defaming the Pirates of the Caribbean
actor. It's a real shame for Aquaman fans, to have their
memories of the 2018 film marred by the Hollywood infighting.
And, we suspect that any viewing of a/the sequel may be tinged
with that court case, even when trying to put that at the back
of your mind. Though, a broad minded audience, might suspend
their disbelief twice over, since, they've obviously already
prepared to suspend disbelief, to believe that (like superman)
a life-form the size of a human, might push a submarine up to
the surface, from the depths. With what as the propulsive
force we ask. Does he have super-gas? Okay, we all love the
occasional fantasy escape, but why do all superheroes defy the
laws of physics quite so incredibly. To begin with Batman was
almost credible, then as box office and Playstation/Xbox
changed the perspective of the target audience, and the minds
of studio bosses as a result, the level of incredulousness
multiplied, until we have Black Adam.
NME NEWS 26 APRIL 2023 - FANS ARE DIVIDED AFTER CONFIRMATION THAT AMBER HEARD IS RETURNING TO AQUAMAN
It has been confirmed that Amber Heard will be reprising her role of Mera in the upcoming Aquaman sequel — and it has drawn polarising opinions from fans.
It was revealed that the actress would be returning to the DC franchise at CinemaCon 2023, which was held in Las Vegas earlier this week.
Although no public announcement was made about her role, visitors were shown an exclusive trailer of the upcoming film, Aquaman And The Lost Kingdom, in which she was briefly seen. She doesn’t have any dialogue in the trailer, however, her character is shown twice throughout the footage — including a scene of her in battle.
The actress first appeared in the role of Mera — the love interest of the title character, played by Jason Momoa — in the original 2008 film. Her role in the upcoming sequel was thrown into question in recent months though, following her highly-publicised lawsuit with ex-husband Johnny Depp.
The case – which was won by Depp last year – saw the Pirates Of The Caribbean actor awarded $10million (£8million) in compensatory damages and $5million (£4million) in punitive damages after he sued Heard for defamation.
This stemmed from a 2018 op-ed in The Washington Post, where Heard wrote about being a survivor of domestic violence. While the piece did not explicitly name Depp, his lawyers argued that it falsely implied she was sexually and physically abused by him during their marriage.
Both actors experienced backlash during the lawsuit, and Heard openly stated that the defamation trial led to her nearly being kicked off the upcoming film. “I fought really hard to stay in the movie — they didn’t want to include me,” she said at the time (via UniLad).
“I was given a script. And then given new versions of the script that had taken away scenes that had action in it, that depicted my character,” she continued. “They basically took a bunch out of my role. They just removed a bunch.”
Additionally, rumours about her role in the film were heightened when an online campaign launched, petitioning for her to be removed from the upcoming movie entirely. Titled “Remove Amber Heard from Aquaman 2”, the petition was made on Change.Org, and received 4.6 million signatures from people wanting the sequel to find a new actress to play Mera.
Following the release of the new trailer, fans online have had a mixed reaction to Heard’s return to the role.
“I speak for everyone when I say we will not be watching,” wrote one user after hearing the news. Another added: “Johnny Depp’s career was literally cancelled until he proved his innocence, but Amber Heard isn’t facing any repercussion after what she did; Talk about hypocrisy. The industry should make an example of her, as they’ve done repeatedly with scandalous men, so others can learn.”
However, some were more supportive and shared their appreciation for the decision. “[I] was so patiently waiting to see this,” another user commented. “DC has finally made it official that Amber Heard will be appearing in the next Aquaman 2 film.” Check out more fan reactions below.
The outcome saw Depp awarded $10million (£8million) in compensatory damages and $5million in punitive damages, while Heard was awarded $2million (£1.5million) following the jury finding that Depp had defamed her through his attorney.
In February 2019, Warner Bros. announced that a "horror-tinged" spin-off called The Trench was in development, with Wan producing and Noah Gardner and Aidan Fitzgerald writing the script. The plot would focus on the
amphibious monsters that
Arthur and Mera faced in Aquaman, while Black Manta would act as the film's protagonist, with Yahya Abdul-Mateen II reprising his role. In April 2021, Warner Bros. decided to cancel the project, though stated that it may be revived in the future.
imagine that Johnny Depp will treat Amber Heard as gallantly
as is possible in the circumstances. We'd certainly hope that
Mr Depp will not be put off from making the movies he is so
very good at, and that Ms Heard might have similar leanings -
once the dust settles - and if it is possible to overcome
these obstacles. Having perhaps benefited from the (real-life)
experience, and become (possibly) even better artistes as a
result on their unscripted interaction, on a different kind of
stage. The roller coaster of life.
FANDOMWIRE 5 JANUARY 2023 - AQUAMAN 2 MIGHT BE HER LAST BIG BUDGET MOVIE: AMBER HEARD MAY BE RETIRING FROM HOLLYWOOD AS NO ONE WANTS TO HIRE A BANKRUPT STAR
It’s no secret that the infamous Depp v. Heard defamation trial saw Johnny Depp emerge victorious and his ex-wife on the losing side. After six exasperating weeks of legal chaos, the jury declared Amber Heard guilty of defaming Depp and things slowly started to fall in line for the latter. But those six weeks might as well have cost the actress her entire career in Hollywood.
The colossally publicized trial that took place in Virginia in April 2022 rendered Heard financially unstable, to say the least. As she lost the case to the Pirates of the Caribbean actor, she was legally obliged to pay him millions in damages. However, Heard didn’t have access to that kind of money then, and almost a year down the line, she still doesn’t.
On June 1, 2022, the jury ruled in Depp’s favor, awarding him $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million more in punitive damages from the Aquaman actress. While the punitive damages were reduced, courtesy of Virginia’s state law, Heard still had to pay Johnny Depp a gigantic sum totaling $10.35 million.
Post the painful court drama, Heard was rumored to have been selling some of her houses in the U.S. since she had no other way of gathering the money she legally owed her ex-husband. And as if her monetary resources weren’t scarce enough already, Amber Heard then came face-to-face with another ordeal wherein an insurance company was suing her, a case which is currently still ongoing. On top of that, the Never Back Down star also had to pay the legal team that went above and beyond to represent her in the defamation lawsuit.
With her owing such enormous sums of money to more than one entity and not holding any substantial financial resources, Heard’s Hollywood career seems, more or less, to be in jeopardy. Even after starring in a multitude of movies, DC’s Aquaman films are amongst the very few projects of Heard that have actually made her good figures. Heard, 36, further faced obstacles with regard to Aquaman 2‘s filming as her tarnished reputation post-trial made it difficult for her to come back to work.
For a long while, media outlets reported that the Pineapple Express actress wouldn’t be returning to the sequel alongside Jason Momoa as one of the many extreme consequences of her legal loss. However, those rumors were later said to have been nothing but a hoax. Even so, Heard’s appearance in Aquaman and the lost kingdom could very well be her last big studio project given how her monetary scenario doesn’t seem to be in the best shape right now.
On December 19, 2022, Heard decided to settle her long-drawn legal fight against the Dark Shadows actor by paying him $1 million. While Depp was awarded $10.35 million in court, he had to pay $2 million to the Drive Angry actress due to a previous transgression on his lawyer’s part. But with this new settlement, Heard will be paying $7.35 million less than what she was originally slated to pay Depp after their controversial Virginia trial.
While the London Fields actress announced her decision on social media with a heavy heart, claiming how she “never chose this,” it might just be the best-case scenario for her. In the statement that she issued on Instagram about the same, Heard further mentioned how she can’t “afford to risk an impossible bill” arising from “an expensive legal process” when at the end of the day the law is unable to protect her. Meanwhile, Depp along with his lawyers is more than happy to go ahead with the settlement and finally “close the door on this painful chapter” of his life.
Considering the current situation, Heard’s financial woes seem to have reduced drastically. Most of what she owed was to Depp which after their settlement went from an impossibly monumental sum to a decently payable amount for Heard. So, maybe this could mark the beginning of a new chapter for The Joneses actress and her career in the film industry might get saved after all.
'Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom' is set to release on December 25, 2023.
ANIMATED MINI SERIES
In January 2020, a three-part animated miniseries based on Aquaman was announced, with James Wan set to serve as executive producer, and to premiere on HBO Max. Although non-canonical to the wider DCEU, Aquaman: King of Atlantis would be set after the events of Wan's 2018 DCEU Aquaman film, explicitly referencing its events throughout, and feature the voices of Cooper Andrews, Gillian Jacobs, Thomas Lennon, and Dana Snyder respectively replacing Momoa, Heard, Wilson, and Dafoe in their roles. On February 17, 2021, the Television Critics Association had a press junket with HBO Max, in which a promotional image was released. On September 1, 2021, it was announced the series will air on Cartoon Network as part of the ACME Night block. On September 10, 2021, it was announced it will be released on October 14, 2021.
A - Z
LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA - JULES
DISNEY, KIRK DOUGLAS, JAMES MASON
S-03 OPERATION ATLANTIS, 1965 ITALIAN EURO SPY-FI, JOHN
- JASON MOMOA - WARNER BROS. DC STUDIOS 2018
THE LEGEND BEGINS (BBC) NETWORK TV SERIES 2013
THE LOST CITY
THE LOST CONTINENT - MGM 1961
THE LOST EMPIRE, 2001 LIVE ACTION FANTASY, DISNEY
ISLAND: ALISTAIR MACLEAN 1979 THRILLER, ARCTIC HUNT FOR NAZI U-BOAT
WWII & COLD WAR, BEST
TIDE - 1995, DENZEL WASHINGTON, GENE HACKMAN, BUENA VISTA
HORIZON - BP OIL SPILL DISASTER BIOPIC 2016
LADY DOWN - 1978 SUBMARINE DEEP SEA RESCUE DRAMA, CHARLTON
KILLER - 2018, GERARD BUTLER, GARY OLDMAN 2018
STATION ZEBRA - ALISTAIR MACLEAN SUBMARINE ARCTIC THRILLER
1968 ROCK HUDSON, MGM
WIDOWMAKER, HARRISON FORD & LIAM NEESON, 2002,
PARAMOUNT NAT. GEOGRAPHIC
ABIDING CITIZEN - 2009 VIGILANTE ACTION THRILLER, GERARD
BUTLER, JAMIE FOX
SEA HIJACK: ROGER MOORE, JAMES MASON 1980 ADVENTURE, CINEMA
SEVEN & UNIVERSAL
HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER - 1990 US SPY THRILLER (SEAN CONNERY,
ALEC BALDWIN) PARAMOUNT
SPY WHO LOVED ME - 1977, ROGER MOORE AS JAMES BOND 007,
ALBERT R BROCCOLI
- WWII U-BOAT SUBMARINE DRAMA, THE CAPTURE OF THE ENIGMA
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