2023 US Box Office Crossing $9 Billion, Led By Universal; ‘Wonka’ Tops New Year’s Weekend With $33M+

Movies

SATURDAY AM: Refresh for updates Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus and he’s delivering the motion picture industry a $9 billion-plus year at the domestic box office; a feat many thought was unimaginable with the lack of a mega-tentpole over the holiday with a Q4 impacted by the double strikes. But it was a diversified crop of family and adult films which got us there including the Warner Bros.’ trifecta of Wonka (which is leading the 4-day New Year’s Box Office with $33M), Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (4-day $26M) and The Color Purple ($16.2M 4-day); as well as adult movies like The Boys in the Boat ($11.6M 4-day) and even YA romantic comedy, Anyone But You ($11.3M 4-day). As we told you last week, 2024 is bound to shed about $1 billion for an $8 billion take due to a lower inventory of wide releases and Q1 sans several tentpoles.

Christmas week box office

We’ll have more granular on the major studios throughout the long weekend, but hands down, without any question, Universal is winning the domestic box office with $1.93 billion by EOD Sunday, +18% from 2022 off such hits as Super Mario Bros ($574.9M, 2nd highest grossing film of the year), Oppenheimer ($326M), Fast X ($150.1M) and Five Nights at Freddy’s ($137.2M). In a slot that typically belongs to Disney, it’s the first time since 2015 that Universal has led the domestic box office. Speaking of Disney, when the dust settles by the end of this weekend, they’ll be second with $1.412 billion (-27% from 2022) followed by Warner Bros. in third with $1.4 billion (+50% from 2022). We’ll be getting more into the granular nitty gritty of each studio as the weekend goes along, so be patient.

Nancy will be getting into global box office standings later on, but Universal has already crossed the $4B mark making it the first time that any studio reached that milestone since 2019 and the fourth time Uni has crossed that mark; the previous years being 2015, 2017 and 2018.

Rival studios may have thrown rocks at Illumination/Universal’s animated movie Migration, but the joke is on them: The movie which has a 72% fresh Rotten Tomatoes critics score is looking at a 4-day of $21.5M in third place for the weekend. By end of the day Monday, Migration with a domestic cume of $58.5M will be 4% behind the running total of Disney bomb Wish ($61.1M); with a final destination for these birds that’s North, not South, at $100M.

New Year’s Weekend 4-day chart (as of Saturday)

1.) Wonka (WB) 4,115 (-98) theaters, Fri $8.6M (+32%) 3-day $25M (+39%), 4-day $33M/Total $143.6M/Wk 3

2.) Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (WB) 3,787 (+81) theaters, Fri $6.75M 3-day $19.4M, 4-day $26M/Total $84.3M/Wk 2

3.) Migration (Ill/Uni) 3,839 (+78) theaters, Fri $6.7M (+17%) 3-day $16.67M (+34%), 4-day $21.5M, Total $58.5M/ Wk 2

4.) The Color Purple (WB) 3,203 theaters, Fri $4.1M, 3-day $12.2M, 4-day $16.2M/ Total $48.4M/Wk 1

5.) Boys in the Boat (AMZ MGM) 2,557 theaters, Fri $2.7M, 3-day $8.68M, 4-day $11.587M, Total $25.1M, Wk 1

6.) Anyone But You (Sony) 3,055 theaters, Fri $3.3M (-3%) 3-day $8.25M, 4-day $10.56M, Total $26.6M/Wk 2

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