‘Wonka’ Leads Event-less Post-Christmas Wednesday, But Overall Daily Box Office +19% From 2022


It’s funky times at the holiday box office.

At a glance, without a major monolith title in the marketplace and another pic leading with a single-digit take, it looks like a scenario of the tide failing to lift all boats.

On Wednesday, it was Warner Bros.’ Wonka that won the day with $8M at 4,213 theaters, moving its running cume to $102.5M on its 13th day (that’s 3% behind Disney’s 2018 musical Mary Poppins Returns at the same point in time, which ended its stateside run at $171.9M). For the Wednesday following Christmas in the past two years, respectively, it was Avatar: The Way of Water that led with $20.5M in 2022 and Spider-Man: No Way Home with $20.3M. Wonka is the 24th movie to cross $100M at the domestic box office in 2023.

RELATED: ‘Wonka’ Review: Timothée Chalamet Brings Charm And Musical Talent To Delightful Origin Story Of Roald Dahl’s Famous Candy Man

In second place Wednesday was Illumination/Universal’s Migration with $6.26M (-4% from Tuesday) at 3,761 theaters and a $30.6M running total, followed by Warner Bros/DC’s Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom in third at 3,706 theaters with $5.9M (-29%) and a $52.4M cume. The good news when it comes to Aquaman 2 is that it’s final take will be higher than DC’s spring dud Shazam: Fury of the Gods (which ended at $57.6M). That said, through six days, Aquaman 2 is pacing with Marvel Studios’ mess The Marvels, which counted $53.5M in its first six days and finaled at $84.4M.

RELATED: ‘Migration’ Review: Kumail Nanjiani & Elizabeth Banks Duck Out To Jamaica In Illumination’s Latest Charmer

The shocking irony is that as lackluster as the 10 top-grossing movies are midweek with single-digit-million ticket sales, the overall marketplace is up: Tuesday, Dec. 26, minted an estimated $46.9M, +24% from the same Tuesday a year ago. Wednesday saw $38.3M, +19% from a year ago.

What does this mean?

Essentially, more depth at the box office for adult-demo and holdover movies: Instead of four movies grossing over $1M like last year on the Wednesday after Christmas (Avatar 2, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and I Wanna Dance with Somebody), nine movies turned the trick this year.

RELATED: ‘Aquaman And The Lost Kingdom’ Review: James Wan Struggles To Anchor Narrative In Cartoonish Sequel

Still, a soft movie leading the box office now is going to do zero favors for the New Year’s take, which already is going to be a wasteland with only 29 wide releases through the end of April, down from 44 during the January-April 2023 span.

Warner Bros.’ musical, The Color Purple, which was brilliant out of the gate on Christmas Day with an $18.15M gross, boosted by group sales, continues to fall, with Wednesday down 45% from Tuesday to $3.9M at 3,152. Running total through three days stands at $29M, about $10M behind Les Miserables at the same point in time back in 2012. That movie ended its domestic run at $148.8M.

RELATED: ‘The Color Purple’ Review: In Its Fifth Major Iteration, The Classic Alice Walker Story Becomes A Movie Musical To Remember

Early industry estimates have the four-day over New Year’s weekend between Warners’ Wonka, Aquaman 2 and Color Purple with about $20M apiece.

Fifth place Wednesday was Sony’s Anyone but You at 3,055 theaters with $2.6M, +1% from Tuesday, with a six-day running total of $13.3M.

RELATED: ‘Anyone But You’ Review: A Fun But Forgettable Affair In Rom-Com Territory

The Boys In The Boat George Clooney movie

Sixth goes to Amazon MGM’s George Clooney-directed The Boys in the Boat at 2,557 theaters and a $2.46M Wednesday, -18% and 3-day running total of $11.1M. Note that’s a better hold than The Color Purple and Ferrari‘s Wednesday (which you can see below). This period WWII movie about the University of Washington rowing crew who went to the 1936 Berlin Olympics is playing to the Heartland.

A24’s The Iron Claw at 2,774 theaters posted $1.4M, -17% from Tuesday, and a six-day total of $9.9M.

NeonN’s Michael Mann-directed Ferrari saw an estimated $1.2M at 2,330 theaters, -20%, and counts $5.65M, which is nickels and dimes under the 3-day run of Ridley Scott’s 2017 Christmas crime thriller All the Money in the World at the same point in time ($5.7M).

Ninth place goes to Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes, which grossed $1.1M, -12% from Tuesday, at 1,680 theaters with a running total in the middle of Week 6 of $155.8M.

Gkids and Studio Ghibili’s The Boy and the Heron saw $837K at 900 venues, -2% from Tuesday, for a running total of $32.6M in the middle of Week 3.

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