‘Wonka’ tops box office with a whopping $43.2 million overseas debut

'Wonka' tops box office with a whopping $43.2 million overseas debut
Credit: @WonkaMovie

The merry season has just begun, and the excitement among moviegoers to watch some of the most anticipated films in theaters to fully celebrate and swing into the joyous occasion of Christmas has skyrocketed, and the very first sweet victory for the silver screen has been banged by the much awaited musical fantasy film directed by Paul King, “Wonka.” 

The film, which opens domestically next weekend, tells the origin story of Willy Wonka, a character in the 1964 novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, featuring his early days as a chocolatier. It stars Timothée Chalamet in the title role and has already started to cast its magical spell on audiences worldwide, as the film has topped the international box office with an astonishing $43.2 million in 37 markets, well ahead of pre-weekend projections for its overseas debut weekend. 

As fans eagerly lined up to experience the wonderment of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory on the big screen, it comes as no surprise that this deliciously enchanting tale has become an instant hit. This major box office opening in the international market is a good sign for the film, as it might sell even more tickets once it is released in the United States on Friday, December 15, 2023, by Warner Bros. Pictures. After all, it has also received generally positive reviews from critics.

On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 84% of 107 critics’ reviews are positive, with an average rating of 7.4/10. The website’s consensus reads: “With director Paul King at the helm and some solid new songs at the ready, the warmly old-fashioned Wonka puts a suitably sweet spin on the classic character while still leaving some room for the source material’s darker undertones.” Metacritic assigned a score of 68 out of 100, based on 35 critics, indicating “generally favorable” reviews. 

As per Deadline, the Paul King-directed musical ranked No. 1 in 32 markets. By using today’s exchange rates, the film is tracking 95% above Paddington, 77% over Mary Poppins Returns, and 50% over The Greatest Showman. In Latin America, Wonka was tops for the region with a 63% market share. In Europe, the film was No. 1 in each of its launches. Meanwhile, the UK was the lead play at $11.1M, boasting a 73% market share of the top 5. 

On the other hand, Wonka dominated Mexico with $5.2M and a nearly 70% share of the Top 5. Spain’s $4.4M 5-day opening ranked at No. 1 with a 34% share of the Top 5 and is the 5th biggest industry opening of 2023. In comparison, Wonka came in 15% ahead of Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, as well as 337% over Puss in Boots: The Last Wish and 214% ahead of Sing 2 (the latter two both Christmas releases). It also topped Paddington’s 6-day opening by 391%.

In Germany, Wonka’s No. 1 $3.6M start had a 34% share and performed well against the comps. China rounds out the Top 5 with $3.2M, ahead of fellow U.S. opener Migration. IMAX generated 16% of the total opening weekend grosses from 737 screens. In total of IMAX, Wonka kicked off with $2.3M from 846 screens. The report also stated that these numbers make this film the 2nd biggest opening for a Warner Bros film in 2023, behind Barbie, and the 4th biggest 3-day industry opening of the year.

About ‘Wonka’

As per the official synopsis, the film is based on the extraordinary character at the center of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl’s most iconic children’s book and one of the best-selling children’s books of all time, “Wonka” tells the wondrous story of how the world’s greatest inventor, magician and chocolate-maker became the beloved Willy Wonka we know today. 

From Paul King, writer/director of the “Paddington” films, David Heyman, producer of “Harry Potter,” “Gravity,” “Fantastic Beasts” and “Paddington,” and producers Alexandra Derbyshire (the “Paddington” films, “Jurassic World: Dominion”) and Luke Kelly (“Roald Dahl’s The Witches”), comes an intoxicating mix of magic and music, mayhem and emotion, all told with fabulous heart and humor.  

Starring Timothée Chalamet, this irresistibly vivid and inventive big-screen spectacle will introduce audiences to a young Willy Wonka, chock-full of ideas and determined to change the world one delectable bite at a time—proving that the best things in life begin with a dream, and if you’re lucky enough to meet Willy Wonka, anything is possible.

The film includes newcomer Calah Lane and an ensemble cast including Keegan-Michael Key, Paterson Joseph, Matt Lucas, Mathew Baynton, Sally Hawkins, Rowan Atkinson, Jim Carter, Tom Davis, Olivia Colman, and Hugh Grant. It also stars Natasha Rothwell, Rich Fulcher, Rakhee Thakrar, Tom Davis, and Kobna Holdbrook-Smith. Simon Farnaby & Paul King wrote the screenplay, based on a story by King and characters created by Roald Dahl. 

Michael Siegel, Cate Adams, Rosie Alison, and Tim Wellspring are serving as executive producers. King’s behind-the-scenes creative team includes director of photography Chung-Hoon Chung; Oscar-nominated production designer Nathan Crowley; editor Mark Everson; Oscar-winning costume designer Lindy Hemming; and composer Joby Talbot. At last, Neil Hannon of the band The Divine Comedy is writing original songs for the film. 

Take a look at the official trailer below:

WONKA | Official Trailer