'Wonka' earns $39 million with Chalamet as leading actor

The new musical film "Wonka" had a successful opening weekend, earning $39 million in box office sales in the U.S. and Canada. This is a promising start for the film, especially considering the recent struggles of musicals in theaters. Warner Bros., the studio behind "Wonka," chose to downplay the song and dance elements in the marketing and instead focused on the star power of Timothée Chalamet, who plays the title character. Chalamet's previous film, "Dune," also had a strong opening with $41 million.

"Wonka" is a prequel to the 1971 film "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" and follows a young Wonka as he tries to open a candy store. The movie, directed by Paul King, features an ensemble cast including Hugh Grant, Olivia Colman, and Keegan-Michael Key. With mostly positive reviews and a CinemaScore of "A-," the film is expected to attract families during the holiday season.

Chalamet's popularity among younger audiences is evident, as moviegoers under the age of 25 accounted for 36% of the audience. The film also performed well internationally, earning $53.6 million in overseas ticket sales.

For Warner Bros., "Wonka" is the first of three high-profile holiday releases, followed by "Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom" on December 22 and another musical, "The Color Purple," on December 25.

In other box office news, the film "Christmas With the Chosen: Holy Night" from Christian-theme distributor Angel Studios debuted with $2.9 million in sales. Meanwhile, "The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes" remained in second place, grossing $5.8 million in its fifth week of release.

Several award contenders also made their mark following the Golden Globes nominations. Yorgos Lanthimos' "Poor Things," Cord Jefferson's "American Fiction," and Jonathan Glazer's "The Zone of Interest" all had limited releases and received nominations for the prestigious awards.

Overall, "Wonka" had a strong opening weekend and is expected to continue performing well during the holiday season. Its success can be attributed to the star power of Timothée Chalamet and the enduring popularity of the "Willy Wonka" franchise.


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