So we enter the home straight on 2023, a year that movie studios would be likely to refer to, in their report and accounts, as “disappointing”. The Barbenheimer phenomenon masks some deep-seated structural issues. Big IPs failing, post-COVID audience behavioral changes, theatrical release windows too short to drag people out of their homes, franchise fatigue, and the streaming model spluttering and stalling at the top of its growth curve. So what is left to salvage the year at the box office?

Two big hopes remain in the schedule, both from Warner Bros.

First up is Wonka, and as its release approaches it moves into a new tracking window. Good news for the studio here is that it is being revised upwards. Projections now point to a $35-40 million start at the domestic box office, on par with other family movies released in previous seasons such as Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, a big hit for Sony. A significant increase on the $20-25 million that the longer-term window indicated.

Deadline is reporting strong recognition from women of all ages right now who find themselves irresistibly drawn to Timothee Chalamet for reasons best known unto themselves. The movie is scoring high on the “unaided awareness” metric for the fairer sex, on par with the other solitary big hit of this year, The Super Mario Bros. Movie. Could be the box office hit of this Christmas.

Elsewhere for Warner Bros. the slow, painful demise of the DCEU shows no signs of stopping for Aquaman and The Lost Kingdom. The sequel to what is still the DCEU’s top-grossing entry is currently tracking for a $32-42 million domestic opening weekend, according to Box-Office Pro.

That is about half of the first entry and a softer start than they would have wanted. It is ahead of Shazam! Fury Of The Gods but behind Black Adam, the movie that was to “…redefine the hierarchy of power in the DCEU”.

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