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‘Wonka’ ends its year at No. 1 at the box office


NEW YORK — Hollywood ended a bumpy 2023 with “Wonka” rising back to No. 1 at the box office, strong sales of “The Color Purple” and ticket sales of nearly $9 billion, up from 2022 grosses but up. That’s $2 billion short of pre-pandemic norms.

There were no real blockbusters at the New Year’s weekend box office this year. (This time last year, “Avatar: The Way of Water” filled theaters.) Instead, there was a wide range of films, including “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom,” “The Boys in the Boat,” “The Exodus,” “The Exodus.” Ferrari”, “Iron Claw” and “Everybody But You” tried to overcome the year’s most profitable box office corridor.

But the first choice remained Paul King’s musical “Wonka,” starring Timothée Chalamet as a young Willy Wonka. In its third weekend, Warner Bros. its broadcast collected an estimated $24 million from Friday through Sunday and $31.8 million, factoring in Monday holiday estimates. This brings the film’s domestic total to $142.5 million.

This beat Warner Bros.’ His own “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” struggles like previous DC superhero movies. James Wan’s “Aquaman” sequel, starring Jason Momoa, grossed $19.5 million in its second weekend, bringing its two-week gross to a modest $84.7 million, including New Year’s Day estimates.

The original “Aquaman,” which grossed over $1.1 billion worldwide, grossed $215.4 million in the similar period in 2018; this was more than double that of the sequel. Internationally, “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” added $50.5 million.

Weekend sales only tell part of the story this time of year. From Christmas to New Year’s, when children are not in school and many adults are not working, every day is like a Saturday for film distributors.

“The Color Purple,” Blitz Bazawule’s 2005 stage musical based on Alice Walker’s novel, opened Monday and topped all Christmas movies with $18 million. Throughout the week, Warner Bros. his film grossed $50 million; that includes $13 million from Friday through Sunday. It’s a strong start to the crowd-pleasing film starring Fantasia Barrino, Taraji P. Henson and Danielle Brooks. Audiences gave the film an “A” CinemaScore.

The nearly $100 million production, which features Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg and Quincy Jones (all from the 1985 film) as producers, should do well during awards season. It has been nominated for multiple Golden Globes and is expected to be in the Oscar mix.

“With so few movies available for Christmas, we jumped at the opportunity and were confident the film would be well received,” said Jeffrey Goldstein, Warner Bros.’ chief distribution officer. “Going into the competitive landscape, which is very thin in January, and in February, the excitement of awards season can really help ignite a bigger box office.”

Despite a blockbuster holiday framework, the final weekend of the year saw box office revenue at U.S. and Canadian theaters surpass $9 billion for the first time since the industry pre-pandemic. This year’s ticket sales are up 21% over 2022, according to data firm Comscore.

Still, that was a goal more easily attained during Barbenheimer‘s summer peak, when both “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” broke box office records.

The massive success of these two films changed the course of Hollywood’s 2023, but so did the months-long strikes of actors and writers. These forced the postponement of some popular films (most notably “Dune: Part Two”) and curtailed an already patchy fall lineup, which already had few guaranteed ticket sellers. An exception was the last-minute addition of “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour,” which set a new record for concert films.

This year, Hollywood needed Swift and every penny to reach $9 billion. On Saturday, he surpassed that threshold with one day remaining. But that total still doesn’t come close to the $11 billion-plus the year before the pandemic. The number of wide-release movies in 2023 dwarfs those released in 2019 by about 20 movies.

Production delays caused by strikes could have an even greater impact in 2024. Several major productions, including “Mission: Impossible” and “Spider-Verse” sequels, have already been postponed until at least next year. After a tough year for Marvel and a string of less predictable hits, Hollywood will have to hope it can adapt to changing audience tastes and that another “Barbie” is lurking somewhere.

“This is an 11 billion dollar business. “We are climbing our way back,” Goldstein said. “Next year will be a big challenge because of the strikes. However, we see it very clearly in 2023; “When there are movies that people want to watch, they come.”

Meanwhile, a number of publications tried to take advantage of the holiday, and most were successful.

“Those seven broad releases at the end of the year put us over the $9 billion mark,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at data firm Comscore. “This last push of the year provided great insight into what audiences are looking for. Movies big and small. Different types of movies.”

Although “Wonka” prevails as the family movie choice for the holidays, Universal Pictures’ “Exodus” is also attracting younger audiences. The animated film, produced by “Minions” producer Illumination, grossed $17.2 million in 3,839 theaters in its second weekend and $59.4 million since its opening.

George Clooney-directed sports drama “The Boys in the Boat” has grossed $24.6 million since its opening on Dec. 25. Amazon MGM Studios’ film about the U.S. men’s team at the 1936 Berlin Olympics was not well received by critics. (58% “fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes), but audiences gave the film an “A” Cinemascore. “The Boys in the Boat,” which cost about $40 million to produce, could be in good shape in the coming weeks.

Although romantic comedies have largely migrated to streaming platforms, Sony Pictures’ “Everybody But You” proves that the genre can still work in theaters. The film, starring Sydney Sweeney and Glen Powell, collected $9 million in its second weekend, bringing its total gross to $27.6 million through Monday.

Sean Durkin’s wrestling drama “Iron Claw” also performs well. The A24 film, starring Zac Efron, Holt McCallany and Jeremy Allen White, has grossed $18 million since its opening on December 22, including $5 million over the three-day weekend. The film dramatizes the tragic story of the Von Erich family.

Michael Mann’s “Ferrari,” a project the director has spent three decades trying to realize, has grossed $10.9 million since its opening on Monday, including $4.1 million over the weekend. While this is one of the biggest debuts for independent distributor Neon, it’s nowhere near the figure needed to turn a profit for a film that cost close to $100 million to produce.

The film, starring Adam Driver as Enzo Ferrari, was praised by critics but will likely be a commercial disappointment as a sequel to Mann’s previous film, 2015’s “Blackhat” ($19.6 million worldwide against a $70 million budget). looks like.

Estimated ticket sales at U.S. and Canadian theaters from Friday through Sunday, according to Comscore. Final domestic figures will be announced on Monday.

1. “Wonka,” $24 million.

2. “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom,” $19.5 million.

3. “Migration,” $17.2 million.

4. “The Color Purple” $13 million.

5. “Everybody But You,” $9 million.

6. “Kids in the Boat” $8.3 million.

7. “Iron Claw,” $5 million.

8. “Ferrari,” $4.1 million.

9. “The Hunger Games: A Song of Songbirds and Snakes,” $2.9 million.

10. “The Boy and the Heron,” $2.5 million.


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