NEW YORK — In a flood of new releases, “Aquaman” easily swam past “Mary Poppins Returns” and “Bumblebee” to lead the busy pre-Christmas weekend with an estimated $67.4 million, according to studio estimates Sunday.

Without a “Star Wars” film on the December schedule for the first time in four years, a crowded slate of films sought to capitalize on the lucrative holiday period in theaters.

The DC Comics superhero film “Aquaman,” which cost Warner Bros. $200 million to make, arrived already a juggernaut overseas, where it has grossed more than $400 million in three weeks of release. Including advance previews, the Jason Momoa-led “Aquaman” reeled in $72.1 million in U.S. and Canada theaters, bringing its global total to $482.8 million.

“Aquaman,” directed by James Wan, has proven to be a stabilizing “Justice League” spinoff for Warner Bros. following bumpier DC releases outside of “Wonder Woman.” The film garnered an A-minus Cinemascore from audiences.

For the studios, the weekend was as much about setting themselves up for Christmas to New Year’s, when theaters are routinely packed through the week. With Christmas falling on a Tuesday, studio executives said the weekend was an unpredictable and distraction-filled one, competing with some of the busiest shopping days of the year.

“Mary Poppins Returns” debuted with $22.2 million.

– From news service reports

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