'Wonka' Leads Box Office Again, 'Night Swim' Opens in Second
NIGHT SWIM, from left: Amelie Hoeferle (front), Gavin Warren, Nancy Lenehan, Wyatt Russell, Kerry Condon, 2024. ph: Anne Marie Fox/ © Universal Pictures /Courtesy Everett Collection

‘Wonka’ Leads Box Office Again, ‘Night Swim’ Opens in Second

“Night Swim,” a supernatural thriller produced by horror mavens Jason Blum and James Wan, waded to second place in its debut. The film, marking the first nationwide release of the year, collected a moderate $12 million from 3,200 North American theaters.

Those ticket sales weren’t enough to topple “Wonka,” which claimed first place again with $14.4 million in its fourth weekend of release. “Night Swim” didn’t make a splash at the international box office with just $5.7 million from 36 markets, bringing its global tally to $17.7 million. The film cost $15 million, so it doesn’t have a high bar for profitability.

That’s probably a relief to Universal because neither audiences nor critics were fond of “Night Swim,” which holds a dismal 27% on Rotten Tomatoes and landed a “C” CinemaScore. It follows a family who finds out that an otherwordly presence haunts the backyard swimming pool in their new home. “Night Swim” the first release from Blum’s Blumhouse (“Five Nights at Freddy’s,” “Paranormal Activity”) and Wan’s Atomic Monster (“The Conjuring,” “Saw”) since the two titans of terror officially merged their companies on Jan. 2.

“Critics’ reviews and audience scores are weak, but that’s not uncommon for the genre,” says David A. Gross, who runs the movie consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research. “Blumhouse is always disciplined with its budgets, so ‘Night Swim’ should be profitable.”

January is one of the slowest months of the year at the box office, and 2024 is proving to be no different. After a lackluster holiday season, “Wonka” has been the only Christmastime release with box office staying power. The Warner Bros. musical comedy, starring Timothée Chalamet as the eccentric titular chocolatier, has generated $164.6 million in North America and a sizable $465 million globally to date.

Universal and Illumination’s animated comedy “Migration” flocked to the No. 3 spot with 10.5 million from 3,712 venues. After three weeks of release, the movie — about a family of ducks who get lost as they head south for winter — has earned $78 million in North America and $150 million worldwide. “Migration” cost $70 million, so while it may not be the studio’s first choice for a sequel, the movie looks to have the legs to get out of the red.

“Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom,” a comic book sequel from Warner Bros. and DC, took fourth place with $10.6 million. The $205 million-budgeted tentpole has dramatically underperformed expectations and finally crossed $100 million domestically after three weeks of release. (Most superhero movies hope to hit that benchmark in its opening weekend.) It has grossed $334.8 million globally, around the same as eventual comic book disappointments like “The Flash,” “The Marvels” and “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.”

Sony’s R-rated comedy “Anyone but You” rounded out the top five with $9.5 million from 3,055 theaters, a rare 9% increase in ticket sales from the prior weekend. The film, which cost $25 million and stars Sydney Sweeney and Glen Powell, has amassed a decent $43.7 million after three weeks on the big screen.

Elsewhere, A24’s sports drama “The Iron Claw” surpassed the $20 million mark at the domestic box office. It’s one of the few R-rated dramas to reach that threshold in 2023, joining the company of “Priscilla” and “Air,” as well as titles that far surpassed that benchmark like “Killers of the Flower Moon” and “Oppenheimer.” The film — starring Zac Efron and Jeremy Allen White as members of the Von Erich family, a dynasty of professional wrestlers who were plagued with a series of tragedies — has earned $24.3 million so far. It cost $16 million.