Aquaman is a 2018 American superhero film based on the DC Comics character Aquaman and distributed by Warner Bros. Entertainment. It is the sixth installment in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU). It is directed by James Wan, with a screenplay by David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick and Will Beall, and is based on a story by Geoff Johns, Wan and Beall. It stars Jason Momoa as the title character, with Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson, Dolph Lundgren, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, and Nicole Kidman in supporting roles. It is the third live-action theatrical film featuring Aquaman, following Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) and Justice League (2017), and the first full-length feature film centered around the character. In this film, the titular character learns he is the heir to the underwater kingdom of Atlantis and must step forward to lead his people against his half-brother, Orm, who seeks to unite the seven underwater kingdoms against the surface world.
Development of an Aquaman film began in 2004, with several plans falling through over the years. In August 2014, Beall and Kurt Johnstad were hired to write two competing scripts and the film was officially announced in October 2014. Wan signed on as director in April 2015 and in July 2016 it was announced that the film would move forward with Beall's screenplay, although Wan, Johnstad, Johns and Johnson-McGoldrick all performed various rewrites. The main cast was confirmed through 2016 and early 2017. Principal photography began in Australia on May 2, 2017. Most of the film was shot at Village Roadshow Studios on the Gold Coast, Queensland (with lighthouse scenes shot at the New South Wales coastal village of Hastings Point), with production also held in Canada, Italy and Morocco. Filming ended on October 21, 2017.
Aquaman had its world premiere in London on November 26, 2018, and was released in the United States in Real D 3D, Dolby Cinema, IMAX and IMAX 3D formats on December 21, 2018. The film grossed over $1.1 billion worldwide, becoming the highest-grossing DCEU film as well as the highest-grossing film based on a DC Comics character, surpassing The Dark Knight Rises; it was also the fifth highest-grossing film of 2018 and 21st highest of all-time. It received praise from critics for its adventurous tone and Wan's direction but received criticism for its dialogue, runtime and convoluted plot. An untitled sequel is set for release on December 16, 2022, and a spin-off, The Trench, is also in development.