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Warner Bros.’ “Wonka” Sweetens the Box Office with a Projected $35 Million Opening Weekend Triumph

Wonka (Credits: ABC News)

Warner Bros.’ “Wonka” is poised for a strong start at the domestic box office, with Friday earnings projected to be between $12 million and $13 million, including the $3.5 million from previews the night before. The musical, featuring Timothée Chalamet, is set to surpass $35 million in its opening weekend across 4,203 locations. This debut is considered impressive for the current holiday season, especially for a musical, outperforming the initial three-day totals of 2008’s “Mamma Mia!” and “Hairspray.”

In the wake of recent musical disappointments like “In the Heights,” “West Side Story,” and “Dear Evan Hansen,” “Wonka” marks a notable comeback for the genre. According to social media analytics from RelishMix, the film has a robust online presence, with a social media universe of 326.4 million across platforms such as X, Facebook, TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram. This figure surpasses “Mary Poppins Returns” but falls below “Cruella.”


Wonka (Credits: Warner Bros)

Competing films at the box office include “Hunger Games: Songbirds & Snakes,” “Boy and the Heron,” “Godzilla Minus One,” and “Trolls Band Together.”

“Wonka” had a successful preview with $3.5 million from 3,500 locations, and its expansion to 4,203 theaters is expected to result in an opening between $30 million and $40 million. Drawing a comparison to “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” in 2018, which had a similar mid-December release, “Wonka” aims to follow a successful trajectory with a strong box office performance.

Warner Bros. is anticipated to dominate the Christmas week box office with “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” and “The Color Purple” following “Wonka.” The latter film is notable for its extensive six-week advance marketing campaign, a rarity for Hollywood tentpoles.

Critically, “Wonka” holds an 83% certified fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and audience reception is positive, with an 84% approval on Comscore/Screen Engine’s PostTrak and a 63% definite recommendation. Demographically, last night’s audience leaned slightly towards men, with 52% men and 48% women, and diverse age groups.

Following Timothée Chalamet’s Best Actor Oscar nomination in 2018, Hollywood has actively sought to establish him as a box office draw. While “Dune” remains his top domestic opener at $41 million, expectations are high for the upcoming release of “Dune: Part Two” in March 2024.

In other box office news, Gkids’ “The Boy and the Heron” is expected to reach around $6 million in its second weekend, while “Hunger Games: Songbirds & Snakes,” “Godzilla Minus One,” and other releases continue their box office performances.

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