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Weekend Box Office: Warner Bros. Dominates the Holiday Frame with WONKA, AQUAMAN 2, and COLOR PURPLE

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Images courtesy: Warner Bros., Warner Bros., Universal

Warner Bros. owns three of the top four films at this weekend’s box office. Yet the real story may be Universal, which this past Tuesday replaced Disney as the domestic yearly box office leader, if including each company’s subsidiary distributors.

Here’s a box office breakdown of the New Year’s frame. Keep in mind that most films traditionally increase rather than decrease their weekend grosses on the New Year’s frame.


#1 = Wonka

Last weekend, in its sophomore frame, Warner Bros.’ fantasy musical failed to hold like an Everlasting Gobstopper with a -54% drop to second place and $18.0M.

That’s steeper than several other December family-friendly musicals from the past decade, including 2017’s The Greatest Showman, 2019’s Cats, 2014’s Annie, 2014’s Into the Woods, and 2018’s Mary Poppins Returns.

Now in its third frame, Wonka increased +33% to $23.9M to reclaim the box office lead.

Wonka has earned $134.6M through 17 days. Through the same point in release, that’s running:

  • -9% below 2005’s non-musical Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with $148.0M, better than its -30% opening
  • +5% above Mary Poppins Returns = $128.0M
  • +31% above Into the Woods = $102.4M

Overseas / global

Wonka has earned $244.4M overseas and $386.9M globally, or 63% overseas.

Unsurprisingly, given its British setting, the U.K. is its top overseas territory with $55.3M.

2005’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory earned $269M overseas and $475.8M globally, or 56% overseas.

#2 = Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom

Last weekend, Warner Bros. superhero sequel opened a bit “lost” with a $27.7M debut.

That was -59% below December 2018’s original Aquaman, well below November’s The Marvels, June’s The Flash, and 2022’s Black Adam, and even slightly below March’s Shazam!: Fury of the Gods.

Now in its sophomore frame, Kingdom sinks -30% to $19.5M, steeper than 2018’s original Aquaman = -23%.

Kingdom has now earned $77.8M through 10 days. Through the same point in release, that’s running:

  • -58% below December 2018’s original Aquaman = $189.0M
  • -29% below 2022’s Black Adam = $110.9M
  • -11% below June’s The Flash = $87.5M
  • +19% above November’s The Marvels = $64.9M
  • +69% above March’s Shazam!: Fury of the Gods = $45.9M
  • +70% above August’s Blue Beetle = $45.7M

Overseas / global

Although Kingdom slips to second place domestically this weekend, it remains the top film both overseas and globally.

Kingdom has earned $173.6M overseas and $258.3M globally, or 67% overseas.

It looks unlikely to even earn half of 2018’s original Aquaman with $808M overseas and $1.14B globally.

#3 = Migration

Last weekend, Universal’s Illumination animated comedy began with a $12.4M debut.

That was well below the openings for some of this year’s other original animated titles like Elemental and Wish, though in line with last year’s fellow late-December Puss in Boots: The Last Wish.

Now in its sophomore frame, Migration flies +38% to $17.2M. It’s now earned $54.3M through 10 days.

Versus other comparable 2023 animated titles through the same point in release, that’s:

  • -17% below June’s Elemental = $65.4M
  • -16% below November’s Trolls Band Together = $64.7M
  • -11% below August’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem = $61.1M
  • +50% above November’s Wish = $36.1M

Versus some other animated comps from recent holiday seasons, Migration is also running:

  • -29% below December 2021’s Sing 2, also from Illumination = $76.4M
  • +6% above 2022’s Puss in Boots: The Last Wish = $50.9M
  • 2.5x November 2022’s Strange World = $21.6M

 

#4 = The Color Purple

After opening midweek on Monday for Christmas Day, the Warner Bros. musical sees the color green with a $13.0M weekend for a $45.3M seven-day total.

Compared to the seven-day totals for other December musicals, that’s running behind:

    • -38% below 2012’s Les Misérables = $72.9M
    • -29% below 2014’s Into the Woods = $64.0M
  • -21% below Wonka = $57.5M
  • -9% below 2018’s Mary Poppins Returns = $49.9M

However, it’s running above:

  • +55% above 2014’s Annie = $29.2M
  • +87% above 2017’s The Greatest Showman = $24.1M
  • 3.1x 2021’s West Side Story = $14.5M

Audience demographics

Purple’s estimated audience is 69% black, 19% white, 8% Hispanic, and 4% Asian.

While most films’ top theaters are usually in cities like New York City or Los Angeles, four of Purple’s top five theaters are in Atlanta. The rest of the top 10 include one in Chicago, one in Washington D.C., one in Memphis, and three in Baltimore.

#5 = Anyone But You

Last weekend, Sony Pictures’ romantic comedy began with $6.0M in fourth place.

That was below three of this year’s four other main R-rated comedies – June’s No Hard Feelings, February’s Magic Mike’s Last Dance, and August’s Strays – though slightly above July’s Joy Ride.

Now in its sophomore frame, Anyone increases +50% to $9.0M.

It’s now earned $25.0M through 10 days. Here’s how that compares to other movies through the same point in release.

Versus this year’s other main R-rated comedies:

  • -15% below June’s No Hard Feelings = $29.6M
  • +39% above February’s Magic Mike’s Last Dance = $18.0M
  • +53% above August’s Strays = $16.4M

Versus other romantic comedies from the past five years, even if most were PG-13:

  • -30% below 2019’s What Men Want = $35.9M
  • -25% below 2022’s Ticket to Paradise = $33.5M
  • -12% below 2019’s Isn’t It Romantic = $28.4M
  • +12% above 2019’s Last Christmas = $22.3M
  • +26% above 2019’s Long Shot = $19.8M
  • +34% above September’s My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 = $18.6M
  • +49% above 2022’s Marry Me = $16.8M

#6 = The Boys in the Boat

After opening midweek on Monday for Christmas Day, Amazon MGM Studios’ inspirational sports drama earns a $8.3M weekend for a $21.9M seven-day total.

Compared to other similar inspirational sports dramas set around the same 1930s or 1940s era, through the same point in release, that seven-day total is:

  • 2.3x 2016’s Race = $9.5M
  • -12% below 2005’s Cinderella Man = $24.9M
  • -39% below 2013’s 42 about Jackie Robinson = $36.0M
  • -30% below 2003’s Seabiscuit = $31.5M

Audience demographics

The audience for Boat was an estimated:

  • 55% female
  • 68% ages 35+
  • 42% ages 55+
  • 76% white, 9% Hispanic, 5% black, 4% Asian

#7 = The Iron Claw

Last weekend, A24’s wrestling drama pinned $4.8M in its debut. This frame, it increases slightly by +3% to $5.0M.

Box office comparisons to other wrestling-themed awards contender dramas are difficult, because both 2008’s The Wrestler and 2014’s Foxcatcher had expanded rollouts rather than opening wide.)

Though hardly a genre comparison, Claw stands a small chance of becoming distributor A24’s biggest title. It’s now earned $16.2M through 10 days of wide release, or +2% ahead of 2022’s Everything Everywhere All at Once through the same point in wide release = $15.8M.

#8 = Ferrari

After opening midweek on Monday for Christmas Day, Neon’s biopic revved to a $4.0M opening weekend and $10.9M seven-day total.

#9 = The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

In its seventh frame, Lionsgate’s dystopian action prequel declines only -4% to $2.9M.

It’s earned $159.8M through 45 days. While nobody expected it to earn as much as the four original Hunger Games films, it’s running better than all four relative to its opening:

  • -58% below 2012’s The Hunger Games with $380.6M, better than its -70% opening 
  • -60% below 2013’s Catching Fire with $407.1M, better than its -71% opening 
  • -50% below 2014’s Mockingjay Part 1 with $323.7M, better than its -63% opening 
  • -41% below 2015’s Mockingjay Part 2 with $274.1M, better than its -56% opening 

Songbirds is also running -28% behind 2016’s Harry Potter spinoff prequel Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them through the same point in release with $224,125,258, better than its -40% opening.

Read Boxoffice PRO’s interview with The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes director Francis Lawrence here:

https://www.boxofficepro.com/fading-snow-director-francis-lawrence-on-kindling-the-franchise-with-origin-story-the-hunger-games-the-ballad-of-songbirds-and-snakes/ 

#10 = The Boy and the Heron

Now in its fourth frame, GKIDS’ and Studio Ghibli’s Japanese-language anime from director Hayao Miyazaki falls only -10% to $2.5M.

By its fifth day of release, it had already become Miyazaki’s top film ever at the domestic box office. It’s now earned $35.9M total through 24 days, more than doubling Miyazaki’s prior best: 2009’s Ponyo with $15.0M.

Limited releases

In its second frame, Searchlight Pictures’ fantasy drama All of Us Strangers took in $129K in four theaters, before expanding wider in January. Its opening per-theater average ranks #16 of the year.

Read Boxoffice PRO’s interview with All of Us Strangers writer/director Andrew Haigh here:

https://www.boxofficepro.com/the-power-of-love-writer-director-andrew-haigh-reflects-on-his-haunting-drama-all-of-us-strangers/ 

In its third frame, MGM’s satirical dark comedy American Fiction remains in limited release with $411K in 40 theaters, before expanding wide on January 12. Its opening per-theater average ranks #14 of the year.

Also in its third frame, A24’s drama The Zone of Interest took in $96K from six theaters, before expanding wider in January. Its opening per-theater average ranks #13 of the year.

Weekend comparisons

Total box office this weekend comes in around $114.5M.

Here’s how this weekend compares to last weekend, the same weekend last year, and the same weekend in the last pre-pandemic year of 2019:

Weekend

Total

This weekend is:

Leader

Last weekend

$91.0M

+25%

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom = $27.7M

Same weekend in 2022

$103.2M

+11%%

Avatar: The Way of Water [third frame] = $67.4M

Same weekend in 2019

$197.1M

-41%

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker [second frame] = $72.3M

YTD comparisons

Year-to-date box office stands around $8.91B.

Here’s how that compares to last year and the last pre-pandemic year of 2019:

Year

YTD total

2023 YTD now:

After last weekend:

Trend

2022

$7.34B

+21.3%

+21.3%

Even

2019

$11.27B

-20.9%

-20.8%

Down

Top distributors

Last Tuesday, December 26, Universal overtook Disney to become the top distributor parent company of the year domestically.

Universal had previously held the lead in April and May, thanks to The Super Mario Bros. Movie, but Disney captured the top spot again in June.

Grouped by parent company, the YTD leaders are:

  1. Universal + Focus Features: $1.92B
  2. Disney + 20th Century + Searchlight + Star: $1.89B
  3. Warner Bros.: $1.40B
  4. Sony Pictures + Sony Classics + Crunchyroll + Affirm: $991.7M
  5. Paramount: $840.5M

Sunday’s 3-Day Studio Weekend Estimates:

Title  Estimated weekend  % change Locations Location change Average  Total  Weekend Distributor
Wonka $23,950,000 33% $4,115 -98 5,820 $134,603,000 3 Warner Bros.
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom $19,500,000 -30% $3,787 81 5,149 $77,845,000 2 Warner Bros.
Migration $17,230,000 38% $3,839 78 4,488 $54,322,645 2 Universal
The Color Purple $13,000,000   $3,203   4,059 $45,300,000 1 Warner Bros.
Anyone But You $9,000,000 50% $3,055   2,946 $25,085,000 2 Sony Pictures
The Boys in the Boat $8,317,000   $2,557   3,253 $21,915,000 1 MGM
The Iron Claw $5,044,847 4% $2,774   1,819 $16,359,994 2 A24
Ferrari $4,063,910   $2,386   1,703 $10,920,617 1 Neon
The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes $2,900,000 -5% $1,660 -849 $1,747 $159,867,500 7 Lionsgate
The Boy and the Heron $2,504,418 -10% $940 -640 2,664 $35,968,236 4 GKIDS
Godzilla Minus One $2,370,000 -10% $1,180 -785 2,008 $45,671,401 5 Toho International
Poor Things 2,329,000 10% $800 n/c 2,911 $10,334,184 4 Searchlight [Disney]
Trolls Band Together 1,970,000 11% $1,517 -122 $1,299 $97,549,440 7 Universal
Wish 1,342,000 19% $1,265 -475 1,061 $60,612,583 6 Walt Disney
Napoleon 530,000 -35% $750 -252 $707 $60,536,000 6 Sony Pictures
The Holdovers 180,000 -25% $237 -79 759 $18,184,865 10 Focus Features [Universal]
All of Us Strangers $129,000 9% $6 2 $21,500 $361,909 2 Searchlight [Disney]
The Zone of Interest $96,634 17% $6   $16,106 $474,079 3 A24
The Marvels $33,000 -39% $160 -60 $206 $84,483,947 8 Walt Disney
Killers of the Flower Moon $28,000 -19% $37 -13 $757 $67,293,000 11 Paramount
Memory $26,000 -28% $2   $13,000 $79,600 2 Ketchup Entertainment
Silent Night $22,700 -76% $64 -139 $355 $7,906,000 5 Lionsgate
Radical $17,756 n/c $14 -28 $1,268 $8,638,974 9 Pantelion Films
Oppenheimer $5,000 19% $25 8 $200 $326,098,985 24 Universal

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