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‘The Color Purple’ Grosses $18 Million, Biggest Christmas Opening for a Film Since 2009

“The Color Purple,” a vibrant adaptation of the beloved book-turned-film-turned-hit Broadway musical, dominated the box office on Christmas Day.

The film exceeded expectations with $18 million from 3,152 North American theaters. This is the biggest Christmas opening for a film since 2009 and the second biggest Christmas opening of all time.

Those ticket sales were enough to clear the way Monday ahead of two other newcomers, Neon’s auto racing drama “Ferrari” and director George Clooney’s inspirational sports story “The Boys in the Boat.” Warner Bros. impressively occupied the top three spots on the national charts as “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” and “Wonka” swam to second and third place, respectively.

Boasting positive reviews and a glowing “A” CinemaScore, “The Color Purple” is the first musical in a long time to resonate at the box office. The film, backed by Warner Bros. and directed by Blitz Bazawule, collected more in a single day than recent stage-to-cinema stories, including “West Side Story” ($10.5 million), “In the Heights” ($11 million), “Dear Evan Hansen” ($7.5 million) and “Cats” ($6.6 million) – earned on their opening weekends. Of course, “The Color Purple” benefited from its premiere on Christmas Day, one of the most popular days of the year to go to the movies. But it’s a promising start for the $100 million-budgeted musical, which should benefit from word of mouth in the coming days.

“The Color Purple” appears to remain the de facto choice of families throughout the remainder of what would have otherwise been a lackluster holiday season. American Idol winner Fantasia Barrino chronicles the trials, tribulations and triumphs of Celie, a black woman living in Georgia in the early 1900s. Taraji P. Henson, Danielle Brooks, Colman Domingo and Halle Bailey round out the cast.

Fantasia Barrino in “The Color Purple”.Warner Bros.

“The Boys in the Boat,” which tells the true story of the University of Washington rowing team that represented the United States in the 1936 Olympics, grossed $5.7 million over 2 557 theaters on the first day of its release. Although reviews are mixed on the film (it gets 56% on Rotten Tomatoes), audiences seem more enthusiastic, giving it an “A” CinemaScore. The early crowds were predominantly older women, with 38% of ticket buyers over 55 and 54% female.

Michael Mann’s sports biopic “Ferrari,” starring Adam Driver as auto tycoon Enzo Ferrari, stalled with $2.8 million from 2,325 locations Monday. At this rate, the film is unlikely to justify its $95 million price tag.

Elsewhere, “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom” grossed $10.5 million from 3,706 theaters on Monday. The comic book sequel, starring Jason Momoa as the King of Atlantis, opened with a lower-than-expected $38 million over the four-day holiday. With its $205 million price tag, “Aquaman 2” is shaping up to be Warner Bros.’ latest underperforming mainstay. and DC after this year’s series of duds – “The Flash,” “Shazam!” Fury of the Gods” and “Blue Beetle”.

“Wonka,” a fantasy musical comedy directed by Timothée Chalamet as eccentric chocolatier Willy Wonka, still had plenty to cheer about on Christmas Day with $10.3 million from 4,213 theaters. After two weeks of release, the prequel story has generated $86 million domestically and $254.9 million worldwide to date.

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