‘Wonka’ Cooks Up $38 Million Box Office Opening

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Warner Bros. is hoping for a long-lasting run for Timothee Chalamet and Paul King’s family film

Warner Bros. Pictures

Warner Bros.’ “Wonka” is off to a decent start at the box office with $14.4 million grossed from 4,208 theaters on Friday, including $3.5 million from Thursday previews.

That puts Paul King’s family friendly musical prequel to “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” at an estimated $38 million opening weekend, firmly within the $35-40 million range projected by trackers.

With a reported $125 million budget before marketing, “Wonka” has a long way to go before it turns a theatrical profit, but has a chance of doing so if it legs out through the holiday season. Reception has been strong across the board with Rotten Tomatoes scores of 84% critics and 90% audience, an A- on CinemaScore, and PostTrak scores of 5/5 from parents and 4.5/5 from kids and general audiences.

Unfortunately for theaters, “Wonka” is making up roughly half of all business at the box office this weekend, as Christmas 2023 will be a much less lucrative period for exhibitors than last year’s “Avatar 2”-fueled bonanza. Overall weekend totals are estimated at $78 million, down 48% from last year.

The No. 2 film on the charts is Lionsgate’s “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes,” which continues to leg out extraordinarily well with $6 million in its fifth weekend, bringing its total to $145.5 million as it approaches the domestic run of “Fast X.”

Japanese imports “The Boy and the Heron” and “Godzilla Minus One” are just behind with approximately $5 million each. “The Boy and the Heron,” distributed by GKIDS, is dropping 61% from its $12.3 million opening weekend, but that’s still a better hold than most franchise anime films that hit theaters and is enough to make it Hayao Miyazaki’s highest grossing film in the U.S. before inflation with a $23 million two weekend total.

“Godzilla Minus One,” meanwhile, has an estimated U.S. total of $34.4 million, enough to currently rank it seventh among the highest grossing non-English films in the U.S. before inflation adjustment. It needs approximately $10 million to pass the 2013 Eugenio Derbez comedy “Instructions Not Included” to crack the top 5.


One response to “‘Wonka’ Cooks Up $38 Million Box Office Opening”

  1. Tom Avatar

    This a very poor opening for Wonka. Making half of what actually needed. At this rate it will be a massive flop.

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