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Christmas Week 2023 Up Led by ‘Aquaman 2’, ‘Wonka’ – Deadline

Christmas Week rang in an estimated $281.4 million at the domestic box office, up 14% from the December 23-29 period a year ago ($246.4M), indicating that moviegoing remains healthy post-pandemic for a family-heavy yet diversified lineup of movies — this despite the lack of one big five-quad tentpole on marquees.

Warner Bros/DC’s Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom won the week with $58.3M, but Wonka wasn’t far behind with a second-week take of $53.1M.

Warner Bros’ Wonka for a third day in a row led all movies Thursday with $8M at 4,213 theaters, a great hold from Wednesday at -2%. Per iSpot, Warner Bros spent close to what it did on TV spots for Wonka as they did for Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, $13M to $14M, in a household TV campaign that reached close to 1 billion impressions. The spots that grabbed the most impressions aired on ABC (13.7%), NBC (10.2%), TBS (6.5%), Fox (6.4%) and CBS (6.1%). Meanwhile, Wonka TV ads saw the most viewership on programs such as NFL games (13.30%), NBA games (6.6%), MLB postseason games (4.3%), NBC’s The Voice (3.2%) and ABC’s Good Morning America (2.7%).

Through 14 days, Wonka counts a stateside running total of $110.6M, which is 3% behind Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns at the same point in time. That pic finaled at $171.9M domestic.

Illumination and Universal’s Migration ranked second Thursday with $6.5M at 3,761 theaters, +4%, another great hold, bringing its week’s take to $37M. Meanwhile, Uni’s other animated movie, DreamWorks Animation’s Trolls Band Together, saw $4.4M at 2,225 venues for the Christmas week, taking its running total to $95.5M. Can it cross $100M?

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom was third on Thursday with $5.77M, holding steady at -3% from Wednesday at 3,706 theaters. Compared with the first week of The Marvels ($54.8M), the fish man is pacing 6% ahead of that Marvel Studios/Disney bomb. While The Marvels posted the biggest dive for a Marvel movie at -78% in weekend 2, on Aquaman 2‘s side this weekend are holiday moviegoers and the four-day frame. The first Aquaman eased -23% in its second weekend at the box office — but the movie didn’t have the misfortune like this one of New Year’s Eve falling on a Sunday (also a slow day for moviegoing). Per iSpot, Warners Bros’ campaign for the DC sequel counted 742M impressions with the most eyeballs on spots that aired across NFL games (32.2%), MLB postseason (7.8%), NBA games (6.9%), college football (3.4%) and ESPN’s Monday Night Countdown (2.5%).

Warner Bros’ feature musical The Color Purple saw $3.28M on Thursday in fourth at 3,152 locations, -15% from Wednesday for a four-day total of $32.3M. Wonka, Aquaman 2 and Color Purple are expected to gross in the $20M vicinity apiece over the four-day New Year’s holiday.

Danielle Brooks and Corey Hawkins in ‘The Color Purple’

Warner Bros Pictures/Everett Collection

Fifth goes to Sony’s Anyone But You at 3,055 theaters which posted $2.8M, +7% for a first week of $16M. While this $25M movie, which was co-financed by SK Global Entertainment and TSG Entertainment for Sony, will be all right in the long run financially, the sad state of affairs is that moviegoers aren’t running back to romantic comedies having been conditioned to watch them on streaming. This despite the fact that this title stars Euphoria‘s Sydney Sweeney, whose social media reach is near 17M across TikTok, Instagram, X, YouTube views and Facebook.

Sixth goes to Amazon MGM’s PG-13-rated The Boys in the Boat at 2,557 theaters with a Thursday of $2.4M, -2% from Wednesday and a four-day total of $13.6M.

“The film is really over-indexing in the middle of the country and the Pacific Northwest where the story is based),” said Kevin Wilson, Head of Theatrical Distribution for Amazon MGM Studios. “We are seeing very strong exits (82 % in top 2 boxes) and minimal day-to-day drops this week since opening on Christmas Day. The PG-13 rating coupled with the inspirational true story made it consensus viewing for families and faith audiences — which is why it’s exceeding projections. Kudos to George Clooney for collaborating with the marketing team to really target and chase those audiences, and for making a film that delivers. It’s paying off.”

‘The Boys in the Boat’

Amazon MGM

Boys in the Boat‘s campaign included strategic media buying, aggressive grassroots outreach and a strong push toward sports fans with media targeting in-season sports across NBA, NFL, NHL, WWE and college football. The entire TV campaign per iSpot pulled in close to half billion impressions with the most eyeballs for Boys in the Boat spots on NFL (4.4%), The Voice (4.2%), Good Morning America (4.1%), NBA games (3.4%) and SportsCenter (3.1%). Overall, iSpot spotted a TV campaign spend by Amazon MGM that’s 5 times what Neon spent on its Christmas week launch of Ferrari.

On Christmas Day, Boys in the Boat filmmaker Clooney appeared in a pregame promo for the Eagles vs. Giants on Fox. Amazon MGM also participated in Mystery Movie and Early Access screenings to capitalize on the pic’s playability and jump-start early word-of-mouth. There was also a group sales program for the movie with churches, high school and college sports teams (local and national rowing organizations including USRowing). Amazon MGM’s marketing team also created specialty content and creative that highlighted the movie’s inspirational true story, and the director’s collaboration with Daniel James Brown, author of the New York Times bestselling nonfiction book. Boys in the Boat before P&A cost in the $40M range.

The rest of Thursday:

7) The Iron Claw (A24) 2,774 theaters Thur $1.398M (even), Wk $11.3M/Wk 1

8) The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes (LG) Thu $1.3M (+23%) Wk $7.8M, Total $157.1M/Wk 6

9) Ferrari (Neon) 2,330 theaters, Thu $1.19M (even) Wk $6.8M/Wk 1

10) The Boy and the Heron (Gkids) 900 theaters Thu $832K (-1%), Wk $6M, Total $33.4M/Wk 3

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