When the doors to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory were opened this weekend, moviegoers headed for the nearest cinema to buy their way inside. The family-friendly film was the weekend’s golden ticket, earning the #1 spot on the box-office top 10.
“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” — Tim Burton’s take on the Roald Dahl novel that inspired the 1971 classic “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory” — pulled in more than $55.3 million during its opening weekend, according to early estimates. With a plotline that sticks closer to the source novel than its predecessor (see “Tim Burton: Odd Man In”), “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” stars Burton favorite Johnny Depp as the reclusive candy magnate who decides to open the doors of his factory to five lucky children. While four of them learn important lessons about life, loveable Charlie Bucket (Freddy Highmore of “Finding Neverland”) learns instead that he is about to become the luckiest boy in the world.
Moviegoers with a craving for wedding cake checked out the Owen Wilson/ Vince Vaughn comedy “Wedding Crashers,” helping it bow at #2 with more than $32.2 million. The duo play divorce mediators who have perfected a wedding-crashing method that allows them to scour receptions for attractive ladies — until one of them finds he is falling for an engaged woman (see “Such A Happy Couple: Wilson And Vaughn Crash Hollywood’s A-List”).
Despite their various super powers, the “Fantastic Four” couldn’t keep this week’s two major new releases from snatching the spotlight. Starring Jessica Alba and Chris Evans as two members of a quartet of unwitting superheroes (see “Rewind: The Long, Strange Trip Of The ’Fantastic Four’ “ ), the film slipped from the #1 spot — where it debuted last week — to the #3 position with more than $22.7 million.
Also tumbling two spots was the Steven Spielberg blockbuster “War of the Worlds,” which slipped to #4 with $15 million. The sci-fi thriller based on the classic H.G. Wells novel centers on an alien invasion as seen through the eyes of one family, with Tom Cruise and Dakota Fanning playing father and daughter (see ” ’War Of The Worlds’ Has History Of Freaking Earthlings Out” ).
After five weeks in theaters, “Batman Begins” is still clinging to a spot in the top five. Starring Christian Bale as the Dark Knight in his early days, the film dropped two spots from #3 to #5 with more than $5.6 million. “Mr. & Mrs. Smith,” however, lost its grip, falling from #5 to #6 with more than $5 million.
Rounding out this week’s top 10 are “Dark Water,” slipping from #4 to #7 with more than $4.4 million; “Herbie: Fully Loaded,” dropping from #6 to #8 with more than $3.3 million; “Bewitched,” falling from #7 to #9 with $2.4 million; and “Madagascar,” sliding from #8 to #10 with $2.1 million.
Overall, ticket sales were up from the corresponding weekend last year.
Next week, look for “The Island” and “Bad News Bears” to debut in the top 10.
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