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HomeBox OfficeBox Office: Timothée Chalamet's Wonka Wins Weekend With $39 Million

Box Office: Timothée Chalamet’s Wonka Wins Weekend With $39 Million

As we slowly wind down through the last days of the year, Warner Bros. became the first studio in a few weeks to release a single movie nationwide, that being the comedy-musical prequel, Wonka, starring Timothée Chalamet.

Meant as a prequel to the Roald Dahl children’s book that produced the beloved Gene Wilder-starring Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory in 1971 and Tim Burton‘s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, starring Johnny Depp, in 2005, the movie was tracking to be the first big movie of the month with $40 million plus.

Wonka did manage to make $3.5 million in Thursday previews, and when it opened for real on Friday into 4,203 theaters — the widest release since Barbie over the summer! — it made $14.4 million (including those previews), which led to an estimated opening weekend of $39 million, lower than expected but still not terrible for the weekend before Christmas.

It was probably helped by the generally positive reviews, and audiences liked it enough to give it an “A-” on CinemaScore with 33% of its audience being between the ages of 18 and 24, clearly brought in by the popularity of Chalamet among that demographic.

Overseas, Wonka added another $53.6 million in its second weekend, including $5.1 million in France, $4 million in Australia, and $3.4 million in Italy. It has grossed $112.4 million internationally and $151.1 million including North America.

Remaining in second place for a third weekend in a row is Lionsgate‘s bonafide hit, The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, which dropped just 36% to $5.8 million in 3,291 theaters. It has grossed $145.2 million domestically, as the highest-grossing movie that has opened since early November, and it crossed $300 million worldwide this weekend as well.

After a terrific first place opening last weekendHayao Miyazaki‘s The Boy and the Heron dropped to third place with $5.2 million, down 60%, as GKIDS expanded it into 2,325 theaters. Having grossed $23.1 million domestically, it is Miyazaki-san’s biggest North American hit to date.

Another hit from Japan is Toho International‘s Godzilla Minus One, which dropped to fourth place with an estimated $4.9 million (down 43%) and $34.3 million domestic, quite a boon for the venerable Japanese distributor, who chose to handle North American distribution itself.

DreamWorks Animation‘s Trolls Band Together took fifth place with an estimated $4 million (down 34%) and $88.6 million domestic, staying ahead of Disney‘s Wish, which remained in sixth place with $3.2 million (down 40%) and $54.3 million domestic. It really isn’t great for either company, compared to past blockbuster hits, though streaming certainly has made it much more difficult to have a family hit theatrically.

Fathom Events released Christmas with the Chosen: Holy Night, a compilation of episodes of the popular biblical streaming series into theaters on Tuesday where it made $1.7 million before the weekend. It then made another $2.9 million in 2,059 theaters over the weekend for $4.6 million.

Ridley Scott‘s Napoleon took eighth place with $2.2 million (down 46%) and $57 million grossed domestically, as it continues to do much bigger business overseas. This weekend, it added another $8 million to bring its international total to $131.4 million and global total to $188.4 million. Scott’s last film as a director to do that well at the global box office was 2017’s Alien: Covenant.

Renaissance: A Film By Beyoncé just hasn’t connected in the same way as Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour, having another massive drop in its third weekend to ninth place with $2 million, down 63%, for an uninspiring $30.9 million domestic gross.

Yorgos Lanthimos‘ absurdist comedy, Poor Things, starring Emma Stone, expanded into 82 theaters after a tremendous platform release, which was enough to get it into the top 10 with $1.3 million or $15.5k per theater. Presumably, Searchlight Studios will continue to expand it this coming weekend into 800 theaters ahead of its inevitable Oscar nominations in January.

Jeffrey Wright in American Fiction (Claire Folger/Orion Pictures)

After winning the People’s Choice award at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), Cord Jefferson‘s social satire, American Fiction, starring Jeffrey Wright, followed its multiple Golden Globe and Critics Choice nominations with a limited release into seven theaters in New York, L.A., and Austin. It made $226k in those theaters for a per-theater average of $32.4k, a great start for a movie that will expand into 40 theaters this coming Friday, and then more in the new year.

Jonathan Glazer‘s Cannes award-winning Holocaust drama, The Zone of Interest, was released by A24 into four theaters in New York and L.A., where it made $125k or $31.2k per theater, a decent start for a movie yet to announce its expansion plans. It, too, received a number of Golden Globes nominations this past week.

On Friday, there are no less than six new wide releases ahead of the Christmas holiday with Warners’ Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom leading the pack. If that wasn’t enough, there are three more wide releases opening on Christmas Day, including Warners’ new The Color Purple musical, which should allow to have a holiday dominance that it hasn’t had in some time.

Weekend Box Office

Rank Entry Distributor Revenue Theater Count Total Revenue
1 Wonka Warner Bros. $39,000,000 4,203 $39,000,000
2 The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes Lionsgate $5,800,000 3,291 $145,238,861
3 The Boy and the Heron (君たちはどう生きるか) GKIDS $5,172,602 2,325 $23,143,285
4 Godzilla Minus One (ゴジラ最新作) Toho International $4,880,000 2,622 $34,257,586
5 Trolls Band Together Universal $4,000,000 3,157 $88,663,000
6 Wish Walt Disney $3,200,000 3,100 $54,274,572
7 Christmas with the Chosen: Holy Night Fathom Events $2,925,000 2,059 $4,625,000
8 Napoleon Sony Pictures $2,225,000 2,601 $57,025,000
9 RENAISSANCE: A FILM BY BEYONCÉ AMC Theatres Distribution $2,000,000 1,723 $30,886,297
10 Poor Things Searchlight Pictures $1,275,000 82 $2,221,764
Edward Douglas
Edward Douglas
Edward Douglas has written about movies for print and the internet for over 20 years, specializing in box office analysis, reviews, and interviews. Currently, he writes features for Below the Line and Above the Line, acting as Associate Editor for the former and Interim Editor for the latter.
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