Aquaman is a 2018 American superhero film based on the DC Comics character Aquaman, and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. It is the sixth installment in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU). Directed by James Wan, with a screenplay by David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick and Will Beall, from 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 Aquaman, Arthur Curry, the heir to the underwater kingdom of Atlantis, 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 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 throughout 2016 and early 2017. Principal photography began in Australia on May 2, 2017. Most of the film was shot at Village Roadshow Studios in Gold Coast, Queensland, with production also held in Canada, Italy and Morocco. Filming wrapped 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 has 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, the 20th highest-grossing film of all-time, the highest grossing solo superhero movie overseas and the fourth highest grossing solo superhero film of all time. It received praise for its adventurous tone, direction, visuals, action sequences, cinematography, and the performances of Momoa and Heard, but received criticism for its dialogue and plot. An untitled sequel is set for release on December 16, 2022 and a spin-off, The Trench, is in development.