The heart of the holiday box office season is upon us, and the second of three key Q4 Warner Bros. films opens this weekend alongside a variety of counter-programmers and the sophomore frame of Wonka.
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom
December 22, 2023 (WIDE)
4-Day Opening Weekend Range: $29M-$40M
- Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom should appeal to die-hard fans of comic books, specifically the DC universe, as well as some casual audience members with a more passing interest in the sequel’s popcorn nature—the latter group having played a major role in driving the first film to such great success during this calendar window five years ago.
- Positive reception toward Wonka is likely to aid its goal of stretching legs through the holidays and into the new year as its first chase weekend lands just as families of all ages are on break from work and school heading into Christmas next Monday.
- Illumination has developed a tidy reputation with original and franchise films in recent years, becoming a notable draw with modern families and kids. To that end, Migration could stand out among parents with young ones on break from school for the holidays.
- Anyone But You is hoping to capture date night audiences as a counter-programming option, A24 will aim for prestige film fans with The Iron Claw, and films such as All of Us Strangers and American Fiction will expand from limited footprints.
- With a Monday opening for The Color Purple, the musical-drama remake is looking to turn strong pre-sales and adult audience appeal into a healthy debut over one quarter of the the four-day weekend. The film should appeal strongly to women over 35 and black communities.
December 22, 2023 (WIDE)
4-Day Opening Weekend Range: $16M-$25M
- The Aquaman sequel has lagged in pre-sale and overall social media activity compared to its breakout 2018 predecessor. During a year that has already seen several DC films misfire at the box office, this follow-up looks likely to follow a similar path as the brand plunges through its current state of limbo, affected by increased audience selectivity when it comes to comic book films as well as the upcoming DC universe reboot, led by James Gunn’s Superman: Legacy in 2025.
- Crossover audience appeal for Wonka and Migration could mean a steeper drop-off for the latter film unless word of mouth balances out the equation. Original animated films have yet to deliver the kind of blockbuster numbers they once did before the pandemic, though the sample size beyond Disney and Pixar is incredibly small and may not be telling in this case.
- Pre-sales and social media activity for Anyone But You are markedly low-key as the rom-com genre continues to face headwinds in terms of box office appeal, while the lack of marquee star power looks to further impact audience interest.
- Across the board, weekend grosses will deflated by Christmas Eve landing on Sunday. The average drop for the holiday when the calendar last aligned in the same way was -41.4% among the top ten films.
Other weekend ranges:
Wonka: $27M-$37M (4-day)
Anyone But You: under $8 million (4-day)
The Color Purple: $14M-$22M (Christmas Day)
The Boys in the Boat: under $5 million (Christmas Day)
All forecasts are subject to revision/finalization before the first confirmation of opening previews or Friday estimates from studios or official sources.
Theater counts are either studio estimates OR unofficial projections if preceded by “~”.
The above table does not necessarily represent the top ten as some studios do not finalize weekend location counts and/or an intent to report box office returns prior to publishing.