Weekend Box Office: Wonka unwraps $39 Million debut

Wonka saw an opening weekend of $39 million while excellent word of mouth should help it stick around for weeks to come.

This weekend saw the return of the iconic character Willy Wonka to the big screen with the prequel Wonka featuring a Golden Globe nominated performance by Timothy Chalamet. While the film didn’t quite get to the heights we thought it could reach in our Thursday predictions, it still was able to carve out a solid $39 million for a first place finish. This is a movie that will have tremendous play throughout the holidays and into the new year. Not only are reviews leaning positive (with a 7/10 from our own Chris Bumbray), but the film also secured an A- cinemascore alongside a 91% audience score. In the frenzy of holiday shopping, many people are likely waiting for the madness to die down before heading to theaters to see the film which means this one should see a solid hold in the weeks to come. 

Even better news for the confectionary wizard, is that when you figure in international numbers (where Wonka opened last week in many markets around the world), the film will likely meet or slightly exceed its $125 million production budget by the end of the weekend and be on its way to profitability in the coming weeks (after it recoups its marketing budget). It wouldn’t surprise me if we hear of a Wonka 2 going into early development at some point in the near future.

oompa loompa, hugh grant

Coming in second place, and continuing to prove that a movie’s first week is not the end all be all of a films box office life, is The Hunger Games: The Battle of Songbirds and Snakes with an additional $5.8 million added to its solid $145.2 million domestic number. This film really has proven to be the Little Engine That Could of the fall box office (does anyone under 35 even get that reference?!) as it continues to post small week to week drops (this week losing just 38%) heading into the very lucrative two week stretch to close out the year. 

Coming in third place is last weeks champion The Boy and the Heron, shedding 60% of its audience for a second week take of $5.1 million. While that may seem like a big drop, there is no need to shed a tear for this Hayao Miyazaki film as it has already shattered several records (including becoming Miyazaki’s highest grossing domestic release ever) while securing several awards nominations in the process, including a Golden Globe and Critics Choice Nomination for Best Animated Feature Film.

Fourth place belongs to another Japanese language record breaker as Godzilla Minus One continues its impressive domestic run with an additional $4.8 million added to its $34.2 million domestic total (the best gross for a live action Japanese film ever at the domestic box office).

hunger games, songbirds and snakes

Spots five and six tell the story of two animated films. In fifth place you have the moderate success of the Anna Kendrick voiced threequel Trolls Band Together taking in $4 million with its $95 million budget and a worldwide gross nearing $200 million and in sixth place you have Disney’s bomb Wish taking in $3.2 million with its $200 million budget and a worldwide gross nearing $120 million. You can expect both films to have a bigger fall off next week when the animated film Migration hits theaters.

Landing in spot seven is the new faith based film Christmas With The Chosen: Holy Night with an estimated $2.9 million. That number comes in under the previous movies (Christmas With The Chosen: The Messengers) $4.2 million debut. If that film is any indication however, I don’t expect to see Holy Night sticking around the top ten another week as that 2021 release saw an over 70% decline in its second week.

Spots eight and nine belong to Ridley Scott’s Napoleon with an additional $2.2 million added to its $57 million domestic take as we wait to hear when this Apple produced film will hit the streaming service, followed by Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé with a 63% drop for a $2 million weekend and a $30.8 million domestic total, or about $62 million less than Taylor Swift made in her opening weekend.

A new poster and a behind-the-scenes video have been released to promote the Emma Stone Frankenstein story Poor Things

Of course this is the time of year when prestige movies start their slow roll outs as they hit theaters for their Oscar qualifying runs. Coming in tenth place is the 7 Golden Globe nominated and 13 Critics Choice Award nominated Poor Things with $1.2 million while films like American Fiction (5 Critics Choice Nominations and 2 Golden Globe Nominations) and The Zone of Interest (3 Golden Globe Nominations and winner of five Cannes Film Festival Awards) begin their runs in splendid fashion (roughly $31,000 and $35,000 per screen averages respectably.)

Did you make it to theaters this weekend or are you waiting for all the holiday hullabaloo to settle down a bit? Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to take our weekly pool where this week we ask the all important question: What is your Favorite Christmas Movie?

# MOVIE TITLE WKND $ TOTAL $
1 Wonka $39.0 M $39.0 M
2 The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes $5.8 M $145.2 M
3 The Boy and the Heron $5.1 M $23.1 M
4 Godzilla Minus One $4.8 M $34.2 M
5 Trolls Band Together $4.0 M $88.6 M
6 Wish $3.2 M $54.2 M
7 Christmas With The Chosen: Holy Night $2.9 M $2.9 M
8 Napoleon $2.2 M $57.0 M
9 Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé $2.0 M $30.8 M
10 Poor Things $1.2 M $2.2 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!