Wonka Bombing At Box Office: Needs Legs

Audiences have been burned too many times and are now a lot more picky.

Wonka Bombing At Box Office: Needs Legs

The Wonka box office is not looking all that good as it is projected to open at the low end of box office estimates, which means the film will need legs to be a success.

The film, at a cost of $125 million plus marketing, stars Timothée Chalamet as the titular character, another remake of the 1964 children’s novel, the classic movie starring Gene Wilder, and the Johnny Depp Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie.

Wonka is currently estimated to open to $35 million; Depp’s flick opened to over $56 million back in 2005, which in today’s dollars is $87 million, so there’s a huge difference.

Wonka opened with $3.5M from the Thursday previews, so with the $35 million possible open weekend, this is looking like another flick where word-of-mouth will kill it or save it.

Update Saturday pm: Estimates have been bumped to $37M-$38M thanks to a higher than expected (by Deadline) Friday box office.

Sunday update: Deadline underreported as now Wonka is said to be opening to $39 million.

International box office update: Wonka is debuting around $112.4 million internationally, which gives it a $151.4 million worldwide box office, so that’s a decent start.

12/26 update: Just as I said, Wonka is having decent legs (sorry, Aquaman). Its second weekend only dropped 53.7% with the domestic box office now at $85.8 million; the film is also seeing a good international response, with $177.6 million; the current worldwide gross is at $263.4 million.

That seems to be the norm as of late, many movie openings have been lukewarm or downright bombs compared to previous openings. It’s only if the flicks have long legs does it make it a success.

Wonka has a current 83% Rotten Tomatoes score and a 91% Audience Score (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory 83/51; Wilder movie: 91/87).

wonka movie

If you build it they will come

If it’s not an “event” movie (Barbie, Super Mario, Spider-Verse, Oppenheimer) word-of-mouth has to get out as it did for James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy 3 which had a soft opening compared to the previous two films due to Marvel bombing and underperforming for the past few years but it finished with a great box office. Audiences have been burned too many times and are now a lot more picky.

Also not helping Wonka is it’s competing with two other Holiday releases from the same studio, Warner Bros., with The Color Purple and Aquaman 2. All three movies are being released within ten days, so it’s like Warner Bros. is throwing everything at the wall and seeing what sticks. Both The Color Purple and Aquaman 2 aren’t expected to open big, either.

That said, there is no “big” Christmas movie getting released this year, so more than likely WB is hoping either Wonka or Aquaman 2 has the staying power. People like going to the theaters during Christmas time as they are all off from school and work and enjoy the family time.

If I were a competing studio, I would have re-released something for the holidays: Disney could release Toy Story or Avengers: Endgame. Sony the first Sam Raimi Spider-Man. Something like that. Again, people want to go to the theaters, they just don’t want to go see garbage. That’s why box office openings haven’t been as high as of late.

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