It’s impossible to talk about holiday window musicals featuring a charming leading man with colorful fashion choices without talking about “The Greatest Showman.” Starring Hugh Jack as real-life showman P.T. Barnum, the film received mixed reviews from critics and had a meager opening weekend of just $8.8 million. But audience exit polling from CinemaScore gave it an A grade, and “The Greatest Showman” ended up playing in theaters for almost six months and grossing a staggering $434.9 million worldwide. General audiences can be reticent about musicals, but the right one can go a long way, and a “Greatest Showman”-like performance is the best case scenario.
In terms of competition over the holiday frame, “Wonka” will be up against Illumination’s animated family comedy/adventure “Migration,” but awareness of that film generally seems to be pretty low. Next weekend will also see Willy Wonka challenged by the king of Atlantis himself when “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” rises to the surface. Per Deadline, the superhero sequel was tracking for a $50-60 million four-day opening weekend at the end of November.
Positive word of mouth could give “Wonka” the edge here. The film has a score of 84% on Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing, and received an A- CinemaScore from opening day audiences. There’s also the fact that every DC superhero movie released so far this year (almost every superhero movie across the board, in fact) has bombed, so superhero fatigue could drag “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” down. Then again, it does have a drumming octopus.