Wonka leads 2% growth in January box office

Wonka leads 2% growth in January box office
Chalamet in Wonka (Credit: Warner Bros Discovery/Digital Cinema Media)

Total box office for the UK and Ireland in January reached £67.8m, 2% higher than January 2023, according to latest figures from Comscore.

Warner Bros Discovery’s Wonka, which debuted on 8 December, continued its strong performance and was the top box office driver in January.

The film grossed an additional £10.6m in the month, on top £49.3m in December, making it the largest lifetime gross for director Paul King and star Timothée Chalamet.

Wonka is also now the second-biggest release in the musical genre of all time in the UK market, behind 2018’s Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (£65.6m).

The highest-earning new release in January was One Life, starring Anthony Hopkins (£8.9m).

Meanwhile, the Mean Girls remake earned £5.9m, surpassing the lifetime total of the original in the UK and Ireland (£5.6m). Its £3.2m opening weekend is the second-highest among all comedy films in the past five years, behind Greta Gerwig’s Barbie (£18.4m).

Also notable were Poor Things and The Holdovers, both Oscar and Bafta nominees, which pulled in a respective £5.5m and £2.1m in January.

Upcoming films

February’s slate of films is diverse. The Oscar-nominated American Fiction (Curzon) and The Zone of Interest (A24) debuted in the UK and Ireland this past weekend. Meanwhile, for biopic fans, The Iron Claw opens on 9 February, starring Zac Efron; and Bob Marley: One Love opens on Valentine’s Day starring Kingsley Ben-Adir.

For families, Peppa’s Cinema Party (Trafalgar), The Jungle Bunch 2: World Tour (Signature) and Turning Red (Disney-Pixar) all launch on 9 February.

February’s superhero flick is Sony’s Madame Web, also debuting on Valentine’s Day, while the Olivia Colman- and Jessie Buckley-led black comedy Wicked Little Letters comes out on 24 February.

In this week’s episode of The Media Leader Podcast, Charlene Williams, Pearl & Dean’s group senior operations and business analyst, discussed the success of more diverse, mid-budget genre films following a relative post-pandemic dearth.

“Sometimes a film can just take off,” she said. “Mid-budget films rely on studios and how much promotion they do; if the audience is there, they’re going to go see it. I don’t think they suffer.

“Sometimes you do get surprises. Wonka (budget: $125m) actually wasn’t one that we thought would do amazingly well, but it surprised. Opening weekend was crazy. There is still room [for mid-budget films]. They can still be big cultural events.”

Podcast: Cinema’s recovery and the need for renewed DEI efforts — with Pearl & Dean’s Charlene Williams

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