Timothee Chalamet tips his hat as Wonka

Willy Wonka Wins Christmas as ‘Wonka’ Takes the Lead at the U.S. Box Office

A magical world of chocolate and the festive season is a winning combination, as Wonka is proving. The Timothée Chalamet film has crossed $100 million at the domestic box office, which has been a huge win for Warner Bros. amid Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom’s washout.

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Wonka serves as a prequel to the Roald Dahl story we know and love, looking at the origins of the famed chocolatier and how he came to be. Following in the boots of the great (and creepy) performance given by Gene Wilder in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971), Chalamet shines as a young, charismatic Willy Wonka.

The sugar-coated film, helmed by Paddington director Paul King, has received good reviews across the board. Chalamet’s performance has been praised as energetic, effervescent, and engaging. With many nostalgic nods to Wilder’s portrayal, the film works to pull at the nostalgic heartstrings of adults while also bringing fantasy and fun for the little ones—so perfect for the Christmas period.

The film added another $8 million to its domestic box office on Wednesday, taking its domestic earnings to a sweet $102 million according to Variety. Overseas, the film is doing quite well, bringing the global total up to roughly $270 million overall. This is great news for Warner Bros. amidst Aquaman 2′s less-than-spectacular run. Domestically, it has only taken in $52.2 million (though figures are higher globally, with over $100 million), bringing the “DC extended universe” to a somewhat soggy end.

Arthur Curry a.k.a. Aquaman stands in a cave made of ice.
(Warner Bros.)

The franchise has suffered in the past year with numerous box office bombs, including The Flash and Shazam! Fury of the Gods. Now that all the scheduled films are out of the way, hopefully, Peter Safran and James Gunn can finally give DC’s movies the reboot they need and bring the franchise back to life once more.

Despite Wonka doing well, the news still isn’t enough to cover the fact that the numbers are not what they once were for both studios and theaters. Compared to 2019’s pre-pandemic numbers for the same day, this year’s revenue was down 52%. Other films currently in theaters are Illumination and Universal’s Migration, with a domestic total of $30.6 million, while Blitz Bazawule’s musical The Color Purple has made $29 million.

The Color Purple had a magnificent start on Christmas Day, taking in $18 million, making it the second-best opening for a film launching on December 25 ever, so it’s not just Wonka holding up the holiday box office.

(featured image: Warner Bros.)

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Laura Pollacco
Laura Pollacco (she/her) is a contributing writer here at The Mary Sue, having written for digital media since 2022 and has a keen interest in all things Marvel, Lord of the Rings, and anime. She has worked for various publications including We Got This Covered, but much of her work can be found gracing the pages of print and online publications in Japan, where she resides. Outside of writing she treads the boards as an actor, is a portrait and documentary photographer, and takes the little free time left to explore Japan.