By James Hibberd
November 27, 2018 at 04:47 PM EST

Aquaman, as we’ve noted before, faces a tsunami of box office competition next month. The DC title is up against Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns plus the Transformers spin-off Bumblebee and the Will Ferrell comedy Holmes and Watson all over the same Dec. 21 weekend.

We asked Aquaman director James Wan if he’s worried about facing such steep competition, and he replied with his characteristic mix of humility and optimism.

“For sure, I think I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried,” Wan tells EW. “But generally around the holidays, there’s a lot to go around — which was pointed out to us when Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle opened on top of each other. You see how well Jumanji played.”

He’s right. Last December, Jumanji opened five days after The Last Jedi, with the Star Wars sequel predictably coming out on top opening weekend. But Jumanjiopened strong too, then shocked analysts by moving into the top spot its third week of release, and eventually made nearly $1 billion at the global box office. With many moviegoers having extra free time during the holidays, it’s easier for more than one film to be a hit at the same time.

“I don’t mind being the underdog,” Wan adds. “Aquaman has always been the underdog and I’m happy to continue that narrative.”

If the Aquaman team was holding their breath about how the film was going to be received, they probably let it out Monday after the social media embargo lifted on preview screenings. Early reactions gush that it’s a “big, fun, wild ride” (read the reactions here).

Also, as EW exclusively reported last weekend, Aquaman actually includes Mary Poppins — sort of — in the form of a voice cameo by original star Julie Andrews.

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