Weekend Box Office: Wonka starts 2024 on top

Wonka continues its solid box office run with another $14.4 million while Night Swim fails to become a new horror classic.

In our Thursday predictions I said that anything over $15 million would take first place. Although that was a correct statement, I thought that the new Blumhouse horror film Night Swim would be the film to hit that mark as horror films tend to be a big draw in the first month of the year. Instead, 2024 kicks off much the way 2023 ended, with Wonka continuing its dominating run with another $14.4 million added to its stellar $164.6 million running domestic total. 

Wonka saw a modest debut of $39 million roughly four weeks ago and had the potential to take a nosedive in the weeks after, but word of mouth has been tremendous for this Timothée Chalamet starring musical prequel that has kept families coming back week after week. This truly is The Greatest Showman of 2023/2024 as that film had an even worse opening ($8.8 million) but was propelled by great word of mouth to a domestic total of $174.3 million, a number Wonka is just $10 million away from hitting. 

It isn’t all bad news for Night Swim, despite horrible reviews (including a 4/10 from our own Tyler Nichols), the Blumhouse film managed to take in $12 million, which when combined with its reported $15 million budget is actually a pretty decent opening. The big thing standing in this films way is the horrible audience reaction. With an abysmal 45% audience score and an equally bad C cinemascore, this one will likely suffer some pretty strong drops in the coming weeks. This is where Blumhouse (and James Wan’s Atomic Monster, which have now merged into one company) are absolute geniuses. When one of their movies hits (like last years M3GAN) they clean up financially because they keep their budgets low. So even when one of their films misses the mark (as this one seems to be), those same low budgets mean most of their films will eventually see profit. So even if Night Swim isn’t their next $100 million hit, chances are likely it will still be able to net some sort of small profit when all is said and done.

Night Swim

It was a tight race for third place but it appears the James Wan directed Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom edged out its competition with another $10.6 million as this concluding chapter to the DCEU finally crosses the $100 million mark. Which if we are being honest, is a far better result than most of us were expecting given the absolute nose dive the DCEU took. The film is being buoyed by international numbers which will see the film finish the weekend around the $300 million mark, which isn’t horrible, but a long way away from the $1.1 Billion the first movie made. But hey, at least Amber Heard thanked the fans for supporting her return in the film!

Just missing out on that third place spot are the animated birds of Migration with their voices that sound very much like Kumail Nanjiani and Elizabeth Banks (along with the always reliable Danny DeVito, Keegan-Michael Key, Carol Kane, Isabela Merced and Awkwafina) with another $10.2 million added to its running domestic total of $77.8 million. The Mike White scripted (yes, the same Mike White who has brought us the excellently dark White Lotus series on HBO) has shown its legs at the box office by also having a less than stellar debut ($12.4 million) but having great word of mouth to where families keep coming back. With no real competition until March when Kung Fu Panda 4 is released, you can expect Migration to continue with solid numbers in the weeks to come.

Rounding out the top five is actually one of the bigger stories to emerge for the recent box office and that is the fact that in its third week of release, the R rated Romantic Comedy Anyone But You has actually gained momentum, shooting up 9% with a $9.5 million weekend. That shows that audiences who have seen this Sydney Sweeney/ Glen Powell starring film are finding it worthy to recommend to their friends and family resulting in this $25 million budgeted film looking like it will see some decent profit with a current running domestic total of over $43.7 million. Hopefully between Anyone But You and last summer’s No Hard Feelings being moderate successes we will start to see more R rated comedies hitting theaters soon.

Coming in sixth place with $6 million is the George Clooney directed The Boys in the Boat, that tells the uplifting true story of the University of Washington crew team and their improbable path to the 1936 Summer Olympic Games in Berlin. Coming in seventh place with $4.7 million, is The Color Purple which has struggled at the box office since its headline grabbing Christmas Day debut. The film has seen some significant declines since its release suggesting the multi-nominated film was super front loaded with the studio employing a group sales tactic to boost its numbers. The studio is hoping that some Oscar love can get more people into theaters, but even if it garners strong numbers at the Oscars, I doubt the resulting Oscar glow will be enough to get this one near its $100 million production budget.

Spot eight goes to The Iron Claw with $4.5 million, taking its domestic total to $24.3 million as it joins the few R rated drama’s of 2023 that were able to pass the $20 million mark at the domestic box office after Oppenheimer, Killers of the Flower Moon, Priscilla and Air. Spot nine goes to the not as lucky Ferrari which is becoming one of the biggest bombs of 2023 with just another $2.5 million added to its $16 million domestic total. A far cry from its reported $95 million budget.

poor things review

Rounding out the top ten is the multi-award nominated film Poor Things with $2 million. I was finally able to see Poor Things this past weekend and found it to be one of the best films of the year. Emma Stone deserves to win the Oscar for her fearless performance. The film plays as one of the best female empowerment movies I have ever seen, even more so than Barbie if I am being honest. I think this one will continue to pull in solid numbers as award season heats up because Poor Things will feature prominently with the films unique aesthetic a sight to behold on the big screen. 

Did you make it to theaters this weekend? If so, let us know what you saw in the comments and don’t forget to take our weekly poll where we ask: What is your most anticipated movie of 2024?

# MOVIE TITLE WKND $ TOTAL $
1 Wonka $14.4 M $164.6 M
2 Night Swim $12.0 M $12.0 M
3 Aquaman and The Lost Kingdom $10.6 M $100.0 M
4 Migration $10.2 M $77.8 M
5 Anyone But You $9.5 M $43.7 M
6 The Boys in the Boat $6.0 M $33.8 M
7 The Color Purple $4.7 M $54.6 M
8 The Iron Claw $4.5 M $24.3 M
9 Ferrari $2.5 M $16.0 M
10 Poor Things $2.0 M $14.2 M
Source: Comscore

About the Author

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Brad grew up loving movies and wanting to work in the industry. Graduated from Full Sail University in 2007 before moving to Los Angeles where I was fortunate enough to join SAG-Aftra in 2012. I love every second I get to write about movies for Joblo!