July 16, 2024

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Box office topped by ‘Wonka’ and ‘The Color Purple’

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Hollywood closed out an up and down 2023 with “Wonka” regaining No. 1 at the box office, strong sales for “The Color Purple” and an overall $9 billion in ticket sales that improved on 2022’s grosses but fell about $2 billion shy of pre-pandemic norms.

The New Year’s weekend box office this year lacked a true blockbuster. (This time last year, “Avatar: The Way of Water” was inundating theaters.) Instead, a wide array of films – among them “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom,” “The Boys in the Boat,” “Migration,” “Ferrari,” “The Iron Claw” and “Anyone But You” – sought to break out over the year’s most lucrative box-office corridor.

The top choice, though, remained “Wonka,” Paul King’s musical starring Timothée Chalamet as a young Willy Wonka. In its third weekend, the Warner Bros. release collected an estimated $24 million Friday through Sunday and $31.8 million factoring in estimates for the Monday holiday. That brings the film’s domestical total to $142.5 million.

That bested Warner Bros.’ own “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom,” which, like previous DC superhero films, is struggling. James Wan’s “Aquaman” sequel starring Jason Momoa took in $19.5 million in its second weekend to bring its two-week haul to a modest $84.7 million including New Year’s Day estimates.

The original “Aquaman,” which ultimately surpassed $1.1 billion worldwide, had grossed $215.4 million over a similar period in 2018 – 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 through New Year’s, when kids are out of school and many adults aren’t working, every day is like Saturday to film distributors.

“The Color Purple,” Blitz Bazawule’s adaptation of the 2005 stage musical from Alice Walker’s novel, debuted on Monday and led all movies on Christmas with $18…

Jake Coyle, The Associated Press

2023-12-31 18:12:01

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