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‘Wonka’ debuts at No. 1 at the box office with $39M in earnings

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The musical “Wonka” debuted with $39 million in its opening in U.S. and Canadian theaters, with its star, 27-year-old Timothée Chalamet, earning his second No. 1 movie (following 2021’s “Dune.”)

“Wonka” is the first big Hollywood release to launch following the end of the SAG-AFTRA actors’ strike, and its success it due in part to Chalamet’s promotion of the film.  Said Jeffrey Goldstein, distribution chief for Warner Bros.: “It shows you the power of a star, and it also shows you the power of a star going out and working a movie. Having him out there after the strikes were over was a win for him and a win for the movie.”

Directed by Paul King, “Wonka” is a prequel to 1971’s “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” with Chalamet starring as a young Wonka trying to open a candy store. The ensemble cast includes Hugh Grant, Olivia Colman and Keegan-Michael Key.

“The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” again ranked second this week with $5.8 million in its fifth week of release, with Hayao Miyazaki’s “The Boy and the Heron,” dropping to third with $5.1 million in its second week of release.

Editorial credit: Sarunyu L /

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