As "Aquaman" surpasses the $1 billion box-office mark, one thing becomes clear: International ticket sales are increasingly important for Hollywood blockbusters.
The superhero film, starring Jason Momoa in the title role, has hauled in $1.02 billion at the box office since its December release, making it the highest-grossing film in the DC cinematic universe and the latest entry into the billion-dollar movie club, of which there are fewer than 40 films.
While "Aquaman" has secured $287 million in domestic ticket sales, a sum on par with second-tier heroes from Marvel's slate of superhero films, a staggering 70 percent of its revenue is from international markets. These days, international markets are a huge factor in the success of a Hollywood film. A poor or even middling performance in the U.S. can be erased if moviegoers around the world embrace the film.
More than $732 million of the total gross from "Aquaman" is from countries outside the U.S., including China, the United Kingdom, Mexico and Brazil. In China alone the film brought in $284 million.
International returns will likely slow in the coming weeks, though, as "Aquaman" was released two weeks earlier internationally than in the U.S., said Doug Stone, president of Box Office Analyst.
"We expect that 'Aquaman' will finish probably around $330 [million] to $350 million [domestically], while the overseas returns will be declining more rapidly as most of the big markets have already seen a large portion of the gross collected," he said.
The film's strong international box office is not unheard of for Hollywood films, particularly in the last decade.
The majority of DC's films earned the bulk of their gross from international markets, but the percentage for "Aquaman" is by far the highest. For comparison, "Justice League" garnered about 65 percent of its total box office from international cinemagoers.