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2023 Crossing $9B U.S., Universal Wins, ‘Wonka’ Leads New Year’s Weekend – Deadline

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SATURDAY AM: Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, and he’s delivering the motion picture industry a $9 billion-plus year at the domestic box office, a feat many thought was unimaginable with the lack of a mega-tentpole over the holiday, coupled by a Q4 impacted by the double strikes.

But it was a diversified crop of family and adult films over the holidays which got us there, including the Warner Bros.’ trifecta of Wonka (which is leading the 4-day New Year’s Box Office with $33M), Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (4-day $26M), and The Color Purple ($16.2M 4-day), as well as adult movies like The Boys in the Boat ($11.6M 4-day) and even YA romantic comedy, Anyone But You ($10.56M 4-day). As we told you a few days ago, 2024 is bound to shed about $1 billion for an $8 billion take due to a lower inventory of wide releases and Q1 sans several tentpoles.

Christmas week box office


We’ll have more granular details on the major studios throughout the long weekend. But hands down, without any question, Universal is winning the domestic box office with $1.93 billion by EOD Sunday, +18% from 2022, off such hits as Super Mario Bros ($574.9M, 2nd highest-grossing film of the year), Oppenheimer ($326M), Fast X ($150.1M) and Five Nights at Freddy’s ($137.2M). In a slot that typically belongs to Disney, it’s the first time since 2015 that Universal has led the domestic box office.

Speaking of Disney, when the dust settles by the end of this weekend, they’ll be second with $1.89 billion, including monies from 20th Century Studios and Searchlight (-2% from 2022) followed by Warner Bros. in third with $1.4 billion (+50% from 2022). These numbers were compiled from Comscore data and Deadline calculations. Uni’s total includes Focus Features, while Warners includes New Line.

Nancy will be getting into global box office standings later on, but Universal has already crossed the $4B mark, making it the fourth time Uni has crossed that mark, the previous years being 2015, 2017, and 2018. Disney crossed $4B global in August after a $4.9B global take in 2022.

Rival studios may have thrown rocks at Illumination/Universal’s animated movie Migration, but the joke is on them: The movie, which has a 72% fresh Rotten Tomatoes critics score, is looking at a 4-day of $21.5M in third place for the weekend. By end of the day Monday, Migration, with a domestic cume of $58.5M, will be 4% behind the running total of Disney bomb Wish ($61.1M); with a final destination for these birds that’s North, not South, at $100M.

New Year’s Weekend 4-day chart (as of Saturday)

1.) Wonka (WB) 4,115 (-98) theaters, Fri $8.6M (+32%) 3-day $25M (+39%), 4-day $33M/Total $143.6M/Wk 3

2.) Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (WB) 3,787 (+81) theaters, Fri $6.75M 3-day $19.4M (-30%), 4-day $26M/Total $84.3M/Wk 2

3.) Migration (Ill/Uni) 3,839 (+78) theaters, Fri $6.7M (+17%) 3-day $16.67M (+34%), 4-day $21.5M, Total $58.5M/ Wk 2

4.) The Color Purple (WB) 3,203 theaters, Fri $4.1M, 3-day $12.2M, 4-day $16.2M/ Total $48.4M/Wk 1

5.) Boys in the Boat (AMZ MGM) 2,557 theaters, Fri $2.7M, 3-day $8.68M, 4-day $11.587M, Total $25.1M, Wk 1

6.) Anyone But You (Sony) 3,055 theaters, Fri $3.3M (-3%) 3-day $8.25M (+38%), 4-day $10.56M, Total $26.6M/Wk 2

7.) The Iron Claw (A24) 2,794 (+20) theaters, Fri $1.74M (-30%) 3-day $4.8M (-1%) 4-day $6.2M/Total $17.5M/Wk 2

8.) Ferrari (NEON) 2,386 theaters, Fri $1.3M 3-day $4.1M 4-day $5.4M Total $12.2M/Wk 2

9.) Hunger Games – Songbirds & Snakes (LG) 1,660 (-849) theaters Fri $1.1M (-8%) 3-day $3M (-1%) 4-day $3.78M Total $160.7M/Wk 7

10.) Poor Things (Sea) 800 theaters, Fri $808K (-20%) 3-day $2.3M (+10%) 4-day $3.08M Total $8M/Wk 4

Other studio standings for 2023, and we’ll get into them more during the course of the weekend:

Sony$955M (+13% from 2022)
Paramount$837.4M (-35% from 2022)

Lionsgate – $580.4M (+623% from 2022)

Amazon MGM$270.3M (+164% from 2022)

Variance (propelled by AMC concert pics Taylor Swift: Eras Tour and Renaissance: A Film by Beyonce) – $216.4M

Angel Studios – $207.8M

A24 $137.2M (+15% from 2022)

Other notes on 2023:

AMC Theatres lead all exhibitors –of course, they are the No. 1 circuit– with $2.1 billion (+23% from 2022). Regal is second with $1.4 billion, +16% vs. 2022. Cinemark is third, also with $1.4 billion, +22% from 2022. The AMC Burbank will be the highest-grossing theatre in the U.S. with around $22M in ticket sales, +25% over last year. AMC Empire is the second-highest grossing location with $19.5M (+37% over 2022).

Los Angeles was the top market for moviegoing, with around $715M+ (8% total market share) per industry stats, with the New York City area second with $590M+ in ticket sales (6.6% total market share). Dallas was an amazing third with $271M+ in ticket sales (3% total market share). 

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