Like the creatures that prowl the ocean's depths of the DC Extended Universe, Aquaman's box-office haul is massive. Buoyed by an extended release in China, director James Wan's action-adventure is already the top-grossing DC movie overseas, and is on track to reach $1 billion worldwide by the end of its theatrical run.
It would be only the third DC release, and one of just 10 superhero movies, to reach that box-office milestone. It's an elite club, dominated by the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but with Aquaman, Warner Bros.' so-called DCEU may finally gain membership after falling short with the five previous films.
Here's the full list of superhero cinema's billion-dollar club:
9. The Dark Knight (2008)
It's likely that, for the foreseeable future, all Batman films will be compared to director Christopher Nolan's trilogy, and its second installment, The Dark Knight, in particular. The film introduced a chilling new version of the Joker, with Heath Ledger's performance earning universal acclaim, and a posthumous Academy Award.
Over the course of its theatrical run, The Dark Knight earned $534 million domestically and nearly $470 million abroad, making it the fourth film in history to reach $1 billion at the global box office.
8. The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
There are many who consider The Dark Knight Rises to be average in comparison to the rest of Nolan's trilogy, which is understandable. However, whether it was because of the immense success of its predecessor or that it was the concluding installment in an almost universally praised trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises experienced slightly more commercial success than The Dark Knight.
The Dark Knight Rises grossed roughly $448 million domestically and $636 million internationally, for a total of $1.08 billion.
7. Marvel's The Avengers (2012)
It took several years of careful planning, and a lot of money to ensure the success of director Joss Whedon's The Avengers. After five films that introduced the major characters of the MCU, fans were eager to see their favorite superheroes unite against the forces of evil. Little did they know that The Avengers would be only the beginning.
The film enjoyed a fantastic summer release, and grossed $623 million domestically, with a foreign box office of $895 million, for a worldwide total of $1.5 billion. The substantial difference between domestic and international success would only grow as superhero movies increased in popularity. The success of The Avengers cemented Marvel Studios' place in Hollywood, helped to inspire rivals to plot their own cinematic universes, and started the MCU on its path to 2018's blockbuster Infinity War.
6. Iron Man 3 (2013)
Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark is arguably the most beloved superhero in the MCU, and the success of the Iron Man films reflect that. The character's last solo outing revolved around his life following the events of The Avengers. It humanized the superhero even further by reminding audiences who he was the armor and the wealth. Not only was director Shane Black's Iron Man 3 better received than its predecessor, it enjoyed phenomenal financial success.
Iron Man 3 earned $409 million domestically, and about $806 million internationally, for a worldwide haul of $1.2 billion. That's double the global earnings of Iron Man 2. As if that wasn't enough, the film also earned an Academy Award nomination for its visual effects. It turns out that, no matter what issues fans had with its depiction of The Mandarin, they loved the film enough anyway.
NEXT PAGE: Pixar Breaks Marvel's Hold on the Top 5