Weekend Box Office

Weekend Box Office Results: Wonka Remains on Top Through New Year

Wonka retains the No. 1 spot to kick off 2024 and continues its march towards overtaking Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour as the highest-grossing film since Barbenheimer.

by | January 8, 2024 | Comments


Happy New Year! It’s 2024 and it’s January! Hold your applause. Yes, it’s January, or what we typically refer to as the doldrums when it comes to theatrical releases. The reviews and the scores may not be high, but over the years Hollywood has found ways to entice certain crowds into theaters, because what else are you going to do in January? Whether it be films geared specifically to teenagers or the horror community, the first month of the year has made some numbers over time. It may not exactly have happened this weekend, but hey, it’s a start, and there is still plenty for folks to catch up on from the holidays.

King of the Crop: Wonka Kicks Off the Year at the Top

The pack is led once again by Wonka for the third time in four weeks. Paul King’s prequel is coming close to displacing Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour as the highest-grossing movie since the Barbenheimer phenomenon last summer. Its latest weekend haul of $14.4 million brings its total to over $164.6 million; that brings the film close to the pace of Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, which made $157 million after 24 days. That film ultimately finished with $186 million, so somewhere between $185-195 million for Wonka seems likely. At over $400 million worldwide, the film is a solid hit for Warner Bros. and we’ll see if that will expedite their decision to greenlight Wonka 2: The Sociopath Years.

The Top 10 and Beyond: Night Swim Floats into Second, Aquaman Fights Migration for Third

Missing the opportunity to snag the headlines this week with $12 million is the first new wide release of 2024 in Night Swim, from the Blumhouse-Atomic Monster merger (aka Jason Blum’s and James Wan’s production companies). Those are not exactly Split, M3GAN, or Insidious: The Last Key numbers, but it certainly helps that its budget was a mere $15 million. This is more the territory of The Forest (9%), 2020’s The Grudge (16%), or The Boy (28%), which all finished with as low as $21 million or as high as $35 million. Night Swim has a less than enthusiastic 27% with critics to kick off the year and will probably finish its run somewhere in the mid-20s.

Universal is also keeping an eye on the flight of Illumination’s Migration, which did not impress coming out of the gate but has held on with families throughout the holiday. In its third weekend it grossed $10.2 million, bringing its total to $77.8 million. That has its numbers between Stuart Little and Puss In Boots: The Last Wish after 17 days of release, though its weekend does not compare to the $16 million and $13.5 million that they put up in their third frame. Migration’s weekend is a bit closer to Pitch Perfect 3, which was $8 million ahead at the same period. The film is currently pushing towards $100 million, and aside from Disney’s forthcoming theatrical re-release of Soul this weekend, this is still the primary game in town (well, this and Wonka).With $150 million worldwide right now, Migration only needs about $60 million more to start turning a profit.

In other Universal animated news, Trolls Band Together reached $100 million, as we’ve told you it would for weeks. It also just got over the $200 million hump worldwide, but the film is still registering as a bit of a disappointment, given its $90 million budget plus advertising costs. That’s still not nearly as bad as Disney’s Wish, which also crossed $200 million worldwide but whose budget is more than twice that of Trolls.

It will be much harder to find a profit margin for Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, which also made $10.6 million this weekend. It will indeed pass $100 million by Monday if the estimates go down (which, along with Trolls, will give 2023 a total of 24 $100 million grossers, up from 18 in 2022), but that $205 million budget is far more difficult to cover at this rate than Migration’s $72 million. The film is most closely mirroring Disney’s Into the Woods, which had $102 million by this point after a $9.5 million third weekend; it finished its run with $127 million. As Aquaman is close to passing $300 million worldwide, there are actually far bigger disasters last year, which is more of a reflection of just how many high-priced bombs there were in 2023 than the comfort of acknowledging that maybe this won’t be a nine-digit loser for Warner Bros.

Speaking of which, last week we clued you in to how the studio’s The Color Purple was fading faster than what some wanted to believe after that near record-breaking Christmas Day opening. This week, it fell 59% down to $4.7 million and has earned a total of $54.5 million. It did not reach $50 million by its 10th day as expected and has now fallen well below the pace of both Stepmom and The Day the Earth Stood Still remake, the former of which is one of two films that did hit $50 million in that time but failed to reach $100 million. The Day the Earth Stood Still also did not hit $80 million and was several million ahead of where The Color Purple will be this week. This all marks it a disappointment ahead of its mid-January launch overseas, especially with its Oscar prospects fading as well, apart from possibly some tech nods and maybe one for Danielle Brooks. No Best Picture nod and no box office bump, leaving the $100 million production another holiday red mark in the books.

Ahead of The Color Purple, though, is Sony’s Anyone But You, which is having a remarkable word-of-mouth run that somehow failed a lot of more highly-regarded R-rated comedies last year like No Hard Feelings, Joy Ride, and Bottoms. The Sydney Sweeney/Glen Powell rom-com is going to surpass the Jennifer Lawrence sex comedy and more than double the combined grosses of the other two after increasing its business 9% to $9.5 million in its third weekend. At a total of $43.7 million, its third weekend is more akin to successes from the ‘90s like Kindergarten Cop, As Good As It Gets, and Father of the Bride. Remember, this film started with just $6 million on a truncated Christmas Eve weekend. When it reaches $60 million it will become just the 11th film to open in December in over 2,500 theaters and gross 10 times its opening weekend.

George Clooney’s The Boys in the Boat held well after its first full weekend. A $6 million haul is down just 27%, bringing its total to nearly $34 million. The inspirational true story has a similar 12-day total ($29.6 million) to other Christmas Day openings such as Rumor Has It, Gulliver’s Travels, and Kate and Leopold, but by its 14th day, it has nearly surpassed all of their 17-day totals. That puts the film on pace for at least $50 million and possibly higher. By next weekend it will pass The Ides of March to become Clooney’s second-highest grossing directorial effort behind only The Monuments Men.

Also in the sports drama world is Sean Durkin’s The Iron Claw, down just 3% to $4.5 million. With a total of $24.3 million it has now jumped into the 10 highest-grossing films released by A24 and is less than $4 million away from passing The Witch, Ex Machina, Midsommar, and Moonlight. Michael Mann’s Ferrari also has a similar distinction: after making $2.5 million this week for a total of $16 million, it is now the third highest-grossing film in the history of Neon behind I, Tonya and Parasite. That is of little consequence to the investors of this $90 million production, though, as the books for this one look as bad as Enzo’s does in the movie.

In the final top 10 spot is Yorgos Lanthimos’ Poor Things with $2 million. The Searchlight release lost 50 theaters, getting impatient for its own Oscar bump, but is nevertheless up to $14.2 million. Cord Jefferson’s American Fiction in 114 theaters this weekend grossed $1.008 million. That’s on par with the fourth weekend of Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life from Searchlight, which made $1.163 million in the same number of venues. That film made $3.9 million in its first 24 days while American Fiction is up to $2.97 million. Andrew Haigh’s All of Us Strangers, also from Searchlight, grossed an estimated $425,000 after increasing its run into 42 theaters. Jonathan Glazer’s The Zone of Interest from A24 grossed $86,000 this weekend — pretty solid for a film still in just six theaters in its fourth weekend of limited release; by contrast, Pedro Almodovar’s 2009 film Broken Embraces made $109,530 in its fourth weekend and $596,723 through this period, ultimately grossing over $5 million. Currently, Zone of Interest is up to $635,000.

On the Vine: Mean Girls, The Beekeeper, and The Book of Clarence

It’s a busy week this weekend at the box office, and just as the kids are going back to school, we get Mean Girls. “The Musical” is not part of its title, but that is exactly what it is, based on the stage version of the 2004 hit film. This one is expected to have a very strong opening and lead the way next week. Speaking of busy bees, we also get Jason Statham as The Beekeeper in David Ayer’s action film about a special forces operative destroying a telemarketing network. Then there is also the comedy The Book of Clarence from director Jeymes Samuel, who made the fantastic Netflix Western The Harder They Fall. This will be his first theatrical effort.

Full List of Box Office Results: January 5-7, 2024

  • $14.4 million ($164.6 million total)

  • $12 million ($12 million total)

  • $10.6 million ($100 million total)

  • $10.2 million ($77.8 million total)

  • $9.5 million ($43.7 million total)

  • $6 million ($33.9 million total)

  • $4.7 ($54.6 million total)

  • $4.5 million ($24.3 million total)

  • $2.5 million ($16 million total)

  • $2 million ($14.2 million total)

Erik Childress can be heard each week evaluating box office on Business First AM with Angela Miles and his Movie Madness Podcast.

[box office figures via Box Office Mojo]

Thumbnail image by ©Warner Bros. Studios

On an Apple device? Follow Rotten Tomatoes on Apple News.