The tentpole is DC's first comic-book entry to surpass $1 billion in ticket sales since "The Dark Knight Rises" in 2012.

Actor Jason Momoa poses for photographers upon arrival at the world premiere of the film 'Aquaman', in London, Monday, Nov. 26, 2018.
Actor Jason Momoa poses for photographers upon arrival at the world premiere of the film 'Aquaman', in London, Monday, Nov. 26, 2018. (Reuters)

The real winner in theatres this weekend was "Aquaman" after the DC superhero adventure blew past the $1 billion mark worldwide.

Although "Aquaman" dropped to the No. 2 spot, it picked up a solid $17 million from 3,863 venues in its fourth weekend of release. That takes its domestic tally to $287 million. 

The tentpole is DC's first comic-book entry to surpass $1 billion in ticket sales since "The Dark Knight Rises" in 2012.

But the surprise box office victory was STX's "The Upside", which doubled expectations with its $19.5 million debut, enough to defeat "Aquaman's" three-week reign in North America.

The box office victory stars comedian Kevin Hart, who has been in the headlines for whether or not he would host the Oscars. 

The comedian was tapped to emcee the industry's biggest night, but stepped down when controversy sparked over homophobic jokes he made in the past.

What's even more promising for STX is "The Upside," based on the 2011 French hit "Les Intouchables," was able to overcome its rocky path to the big screen. 

The Weinstein Company was originally on board to distribute the comedic drama about a quadriplegic billionaire who befriends an ex-convict hired to help him. It premiered at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival but was shelved after sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein came to light. 

STX and Lantern Capital then purchased the rights and worked with director Neil Burger to recut the movie from an R rating to PG-13 in hopes that would make "The Upside" more accessible for a broader audience.

"When I look at where the movie overperformed, I think [its rating] was a beneficial contributor," said Adam Fogelson, STX's Motion Picture Group chairman. Fogelson added, "Kevin is in rarified company when it comes to the level of support of his fans."

Critics weren't particularly impressed with the tag-team of Cranston and Hart (it has a 40 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), but audiences seem to be embracing the film with an A Cinemascore.

"The Upside"

Sony's "A Dog's Way Home" opened in third place. The PG adventure about a dog (voiced by Bryce Dallas Howard) who gets separated from her owner debuted on par with estimates, earning $11 million from 3,090 theaters. It's a promising start since the movie, co-starring Ashley Judd and Edward James Olmos, cost $18 million to produce.

Other new releases weren't as fortunate. Entertainment Studio's "Replicas" misfired with a dismal $2.5 million from 2,329 locations. Keanu Reeves stars in the sci-fi thriller -- which isn't fairing much better overseas, where it has generated $3.5 million.

"If Beale Street Could Talk"

Annapurna's "If Beale Street Could Talk" also expanded nationwide this weekend, pocketing $2.3 million from 1,018 screens during the three-day frame. The Oscar hopeful, written and directed by Barry Jenkins, has made $7.6 million.

A number of other awards contenders were hoping to get a boost from last weekend's Golden Globes. Annapurna's "Vice," a scathing look at Dick Cheney, rounded out the top 10 with $3.2 million for a domestic total of $35 million. Adam McKay directed the biopic, which cost $60 million.

"Bohemian Rhapsody"

The Globes' big winner "Bohemian Rhapsody" saw the benefit of a few statues. Fox's Queen biopic, starring Rami Malek as the legendary frontman Freddy Mercury, drummed up another $3 million in its 11th week of release, a 33 percent hike to take its domestic haul just short of $200 million. It currently sits at $198 million in North America and $553 million internationally. 

"Bohemian Rhapsody" can also thank the sing-along screenings at 750 domestic locations for the increase in ticket sales. Those versions displayed lyrics on screen, encouraging audiences to clap their hands and stop their feet to hits like "We Will Rock You" and "We Are the Champions."

"Green Book"

Universal and DreamWorks' "Green Book" was another title hoping to turn some awards glory into ticket sales. The feel-good drama that has been riddled with even more controversy since picking up three Golden Globe awards last Sunday, earned $2.1 million this weekend for a domestic total of $38.5 million.

A pair of Sony titles rounded out the top five. "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" added another $9 million for a total of $147 million. Meanwhile, the studio's psychological thriller "Escape Room" brought in $8.9 million, marking a 50 percent decline from its opening weekend and taking its domestic bounty to $32 million.

Source: Reuters