Timothée Chalamet’s ‘Wonka’ leads the box office with $39M


The pre-holiday box office is off to a sweet start, thanks to Timothée Chalamet’s eccentric chocolatier, Wonka.

Although it didn’t manage to crack No. 1 in the official ranking from Chalamet’s mom, the fantasy musical is clearly charming audiences worldwide. With a $39 million domestic debut, the film from Paddington 2 director Paul King brought its global total to $151.4 million.

This marks a promising start, especially for a musical film. In recent years, the genre has noticeably struggled at the box office, prompting much of the film’s marketing to hide the song-and-dance act in trailers. The prequel offers some insight into the origins of Willy Wonka, the magical candyman featured in Roald Dahl’s classic novel, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Timothee Chalamet as Willy Wonka in WONKA.

Warner Bros. Pictures

Wonka notably puts budding R&B star Chalamet’s musical skills to the test — but instead of rapping his way to an A+, Timmy T is channeling Gene Wilder as he milks giraffes, charms Oompa Loompas and whisks audiences into a world of pure imagination with his chocolate concoctions. The film also stars Hugh Grant, Olivia Colman, Sally Hawkins, Keegan-Michael Key, and Calah Lane.

Trailing behind in second place, The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes adds another $5.8 million to its now $145.2 million total ($300.5 globally). Yet another origin story, the film revitalizes the YA dystopia by showing the backstory of Coriolanus Snow, who will one day preside over Katniss Everdeen’s time in the arena. The Rachel Zegler vehicle is something of a musical itself, featuring folksy tunes with a not-so-subtle tinge of rebellion. 

Elsewhere, legendary filmmaker Hayao Miyakazi made his return to the box office after retiring (not for the first time) in 2013.

The Boy and the Heron.

Studio Ghibli 

Miyazaki’s latest, The Boy and the Heron, enjoyed a lucrative second weekend in the U.S., earning $5.1 million from screens across the nation. This brings its domestic total to $23.1 million, with its global yield now at $126.5 million.

Godzilla Minus One is still stomping a path to success, drawing another $4.8 million worth of tickets from audiences in the U.S., for a total of $34.3 million ($65.4 million globally). The kaiju epic, which marks the 37th Godzilla movie to date, has become the highest-grossing live-action Japanese film in North America. Telling a story entirely independent from Legendary Pictures’ MonsterVerse, the Japan-set film picks up in the wake of World War II, following a PTSD-stricken man who must resume his fight when a new threat emerges in the form of a giant monster.

Shifting the tone entirely, Trolls Band Together rounds out the top five with an additional $4 million. The film that following Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake as singing trolls, Poppy and Branch, reaches for an entirely new demographic by reuniting NSYNC for the latest musical adventure. It currently sits at $88.6 million domestically, with a $183.1 global cume)

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