‘Wonka’ Kicks Off Holiday Box Office With $3.5 Million From Thursday Previews

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The Warner Bros. family film is projected for a $35 million opening

wonka-timothee-chalamet
Warner Bros. Pictures

The 2023 holiday box office has kicked off in earnest as the Timothee Chalamet-fronted “Wonka” is now in theaters, grossing $3.5 million from over 3,400 screens during Thursday previews.

This is well above the $325,000 that director Paul King’s last film, “Paddington 2,” made from Thursday previews in 2018 and above the $2.5 million mid-week opening day of “The Greatest Showman,” which hit theaters in 2017 without previews.

Warner Bros. is hoping for strong word-of-mouth that will give “Wonka” a “Greatest Showman”-esque run for weeks to come, as that film grossed $173 million in 2017. “Wonka” will need those legs, as it is projected for a $35-40 million domestic opening against a reported $125 million budget.

It will soon be seen whether “Wonka,” with its earnest, family-friendly tone and lighthearted musical numbers, will win over enough families and general audience members to leg out against competition like the upcoming Illumination animated film “Migration.” Critics have been largely favorable towards the film, giving it an 84% score on Rotten Tomatoes.

“Wonka” will share theaters this weekend with GKIDS/Studio Ghibli’s “The Boy and the Heron” and Toho/Emick Media’s “Godzilla Minus One,” two Japanese imports that have struck a cord with audiences and are legging out well. “The Boy and the Heron” is expected to drop just 50% from its $12.3 million No. 1 opening — the first for any original anime film — defying the sharp second weekend drops that typically hit franchise anime films.

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