‘Wonka’ previews: Box Office Earns $3.5M in Thursday
The holiday movie season has officially commenced at the box office with “Wonka” aiming to enchant audiences with an imaginative origin story centered around the beloved candyman from “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”
Produced by Warner Bros. and David Heyman, known for his work in the Harry Potter franchise the musical debuted in North America with a promising $3.5 million in preview earnings from 3,400 theaters on Thursday night a notable start for family-oriented films in previews. Matching the preview earnings of the successful “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” which opened to $35 million domestically, “Wonka” indicates a positive start.
Anticipated tracking suggests that “Wonka” is poised for a debut in the range of $35 million to $40 million. The film will expand its release to 4,203 locations including premium formats like Imax, by Friday.
Directed by Paul King of “Paddington” fame and featuring Timothée Chalamet as young Willy Wonka the film stars Hugh Grant, Olivia Colman, Keegan-Michael Key and an ensemble cast.The aim is for “Wonka” to resonate strongly throughout the holiday season, contending with the distractions of holiday preparations initially but banking on a surge in viewership post-Christmas and during weekdays, especially with children out of school.
While competing with other Warner Bros. titles like “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” (Dec. 22) and “The Color Purple” (Dec. 25), which is also a musical, “Wonka” hopes to revive the musical genre’s recent fluctuating success and emulate hits like “The Greatest Showman on Earth.”
The film marks one of the earliest major Hollywood releases post the SAG-AFTRA strike. Studios and filmmakers are relieved to have Timothée Chalamet available for promotional efforts, especially considering his rising star status. Chalamet’s appeal, particularly among young audiences, is expected to play a pivotal role in “Wonka’s” success, preceding his role in “Dune: Part Two,” delayed to allow for press engagements with co-star Zendaya.