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HomeBox OfficeBox Office: Night Swim Tanks as Timothée Chalamet's Wonka Reigns Again

Box Office: Night Swim Tanks as Timothée Chalamet’s Wonka Reigns Again

If the box office is going to survive the year, it’s going to have to do better than it did in the first full weekend of 2024, when only one new movie was released, the high-concept horror-thriller Night Swim from the recently-merged Blumhouse and Atomic Monster (more on that in tomorrow’s “Must Reads”!). It couldn’t even beat Timothée Chalamet‘s Wonka in its fourth weekend in theaters.

Things weren’t looking good for Night Swim with reviews being quite scathing – odd to me, since there were a lot of things I liked about it — you can read my review here – and tracking not being much better, but Universal released the movie into a decent 3,250 North American theaters on Friday.

Night Swim made $1.45 million in Thursday previews, which was pulled into its Friday numbers for $5.25 million, with Wonka making $4.3 million on its fourth Friday. A combination of blasé word of mouth (signified by a terrible “C” CinemaScore) and terrible weather hitting much of the country, didn’t do Night Swim any favors.

UPDATE: Please note that all the estimated box office numbers reported from Sunday were lowered once actual box office was reported on Monday. You can see the updated amounts in the chart at the bottom of this report.

Sure enough, Wonka made up its business over the weekend to win with an estimated $14.4 million, down 36% from the weekend ahead of New Year’s Day with $164.7 million total domestic, which puts it ahead of The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes to be the highest-grossing movie that opened in North America since early November, the start of holiday season at the box office. Presumably, Wonka might have done even better in terms of family business if not for that aforementioned weather.

Even so, Wonka has also crossed the $300 million mark internationally with another $28.9 million internationally over the weekend, which brings its global total to $465.8 million.

Night Swim settled for second place with just $12 million, a weak $3,692 average per theater, but that CinemaScore does not do the movie any favors, so we’ll have to see if it can bring in more business over a super-busy MLK Jr. weekend that’s coming up. For comparison, Zach Creggers‘ Barbarian received much better reviews, but a “C+” CinemaScore, and yet, that was able to maintain 62% of its business in weekend 2 against The Woman King.

(Oddly, when I spoke to the movie’s writer/director Bryce McGuire, he asked if I thought a summery movie about a nefarious swimming pool might be hurt by the winter weather — not literally, as it was — and I didn’t think it would. Clearly, I was wrong.)

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom was just able to hold up third place with an estimated $10.6 million in 3,553 theaters, down 42% in its third weekend, as it just crossed the $100 million mark, far slower than other superhero movies, including the original Aquaman in 2018. Overseas, it continues to do better with another $30.3 million, which brings its international total to $234.8 million and global total to $334.8 million, so it’s behind Wonka in every respect.

It was followed in fourth place by Illumination Entertainment‘s animated Migration with just under $10 million in 3,712 theaters, down almost 40% from last weekend with $77.8 million grossed domestically. That might not be great compared to other Illumination/Universal animated films, but not bad considering it opened with just $12.4 million before Christmas Day.

The big surprise for the weekend had to be the Sony rom-com Anyone But You, starring Sydney Sweeney and Glenn Powell, which maintained fifth place with an estimated $9.5 million, which was up almost 9% from last weekend. It has grossed $43.7 million so far, not bad considering it received mixed reviews on release.

George Clooney‘s The Boys in the Boat also seems to be countering bad weather with good word-of-mouth as it remained in sixth place with $6 million (down 28%) — it added another 130 theaters on Friday — and $33.9 million to date.

That brings us to Warner Bros‘ The Color Purple, which dropped from fourth place down to seventh with an estimated $4.8 million, the biggest drop in the top 10 as it lost 59% of its pre-New Year’s business. Just a reminder that the Oprah Winfrey-produced musical drama opened with $18.1 million on Christmas Day, the second-highest gross for that holiday, but it just hasn’t been able to maintain its business. It has only grossed $54.6 million so far, and it might be another good example of how little CinemaScores matter, when that received an “A” from those who saw it opening week.

It was followed in eighth and ninth place by sports dramas, The Iron Claw and Ferrari, with just under $4 million (down 14%) and $2.4 million (down 38%), respectively. The Iron Claw has grossed $24.3 million compared to Ferrari‘s $15.9 million, not terrible for what are essentially indie releases.

Speaking of high-profile indies, Yorgos Lanthimos‘ Poor Things, starring Emma Stonebroke back into the top 10 for the first time since expanding nationwide into 800 theaters before Christmas, making an estimated $2 million in 750 theaters. It has made $14.2 million so far, and that’s before it won two Golden Globes on Sunday night.

The only new limited release was Xavier (Hitman) Gens‘ action-thriller Mayhem!, released into 24 theaters nationwide and also on digital, but it only made $6.8k or $283 per theater, not great. Ironically, Above the Line has an interview with that film’s star, Nassim Lyes, which you can read here.

Weekend Box Office

Rank Entry Distributor Revenue Theater Count Total Revenue
1 Wonka Warner Bros. $14,077,078 3,817 $164,301,380
2 Night Swim Universal $11,797,155 3,250 $11,797,155
3 Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom Warner Bros. $10,600,624 3,553 $100,011,903
4 Migration Universal $9,996,880 3,712 $77,567,015
5 Anyone But You Sony Pictures $9,751,317 3,055 $43,964,961
6 The Boys in the Boat MGM $5,584,210 2,687 $33,460,829
7 The Color Purple Warner Bros. $4,643,901 3,218 $54,500,334
8 The Iron Claw A24 $4,521,555 2,392 $24,878,696
9 Ferrari Neon $2,451,857 2,121 $15,952,316
10 Poor Things Searchlight Pictures $1,971,798 750 $14,199,040

Data provided by The Numbers, powered by OpusData

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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