Wonka and Color Purple to lead slow end of 2023

The movie musical is back in full swing as 2023 should end with Wonka and The Color Purple in the top two spots.

wonka color purple

Oh, the weather outside is frightful… but not nearly as frightful as the Holiday box office this year. Generally the week between Christmas and New Years sees some afterglow effect from the big releases as many people take the week off as an end of year vacation. This year, with no Avatar, Spider-Man or Star Wars in theaters, we aren’t really seeing those types of holdover numbers.

Predicting this weeks numbers will be a bit tough as there truly is no single stand out film that will clearly rise above the rest. You may point out that The Color Purple opened on Christmas Day and took in a shocking $18.1 million and a first place finish, but by Tuesday (just one day later) the film had dropped over 61% of its audience with $7 million and a third place finish. To put that into perspective: last year, films like Avatar: The Way of Water, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and even Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance With Somebody all saw gains in their box office the day after Christmas which fell on a Monday. Even if you look at the Tuesday numbers, the biggest drop was Avatar’s 25.2%.

So the big question is: how front loaded is The Color Purple? The film is being aided by a strong push by the studio for Group Sale tickets, essentially buying in bulk for groups of 21 or more to come see the film. That sales tactic (similar, but not identical, to the same employed by Angel Studios for this summer’s smash Sound of Freedom) paid off big time at the Christmas Day box office as when I looked at my local theater to see how each movie was selling that day, Color Purple was the only theater that was mostly sold out for every show. But when doing the same research for this weekend, I notice that The Color Purple is looking a lot less full. 

All of that to say, I think The Color Purple will likely land in second place this weekend with around $9 million. The film has pulled in over $25 million so far, a decent number especially when you consider it is more than Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story took in after 18 days of release. But with a $100 million budget before marketing costs, this musical adaptation has a long way to go if it wants to see any profit.

It is Tuesday’s box office numbers that are the most telling. With The Color Purple having an over 60% decline and dropping to third place, another movie musical took its spot atop the charts. Wonka is seeing tremendous word of mouth propelling it towards the $100 million mark (domestic). This weekend I expect the Timothy Chalamet starring prequel to land atop the box office with around $12 million.

Spot number three will likely go to Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom which should have enough juice to land that spot with around $7 million, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the final film in the DCEU has a much harsher drop off. Word of mouth on Aquaman has been horrible with some of the biggest headlines I have seen being about how the final scene of the DCEU is Patrick Wilson eating a cockroach! I do wonder if these films would have played better if knowledge of a full on DC Universe reboot hadn’t come out, but how much does John Q Public pay attention to that type of news? I think it has more to do with the films just being recycled junk with nothing fresh. This isn’t just a DC problem, we saw it with Marvel as well when The Marvels was released and absolutely cratered both commercially and creatively. Luckily DC has the Elseworlds line of films such as The Batman and Joker that have proven to be fantastic ways of releasing stand alone films without any connective tissue to these interconnected universes (that is until James Gunn and Peter Safran mess that up by making the Arkham Asylum TV series take place in both The Batman and DC Universes, once again complicating things that don’t need to be complicated.)

Spots four and five will likely go to two films aimed at vastly different audiences: the animated film Migration (that features an unadvertised Minions mini-film before the movie, which was genuinely funny) should see a second weekend take around $6 million while the R rated Rom-Com Anyone But You should pull in the adult crowds looking for a light hearted comedic romp with two up and coming stars and around $4 million in receipts. If there is one movie that could potentially take that number five spot it would be the critically heralded (including being named Joblo’s 2nd Best Movie of 2023) The Iron Claw which I do believe has the potential to see the lowest drop of any film this weekend as it opened with just under $5 million and with great word of mouth should see a weekend in that $3-$4 million range. 

Do you plan on hitting theaters this weekend? If so, let us know what you plan on seeing in the comments and don’t forget to check back with us on Saturday when we have a brief update on where the numbers are heading.


  1. Wonka $12 Million
  2. The Color Purple $9 Million
  3. Aquaman and The Lost Kingdom $7.5 Million
  4. Migration $6 Million
  5. Anyone But You $4 Million

#Wonka #Color #Purple #lead #slow

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