A golden ticket for Warner Bros.–CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY tops the weekend box office with $56.2 million!

Tim Burton’s CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY, starring Johnny Depp as mysterious chocolatier Willy Wonka, topped the North American box office for the weekend of July 15-17, with ticket sales of $56.2 million and a weekend per-screen average of $14,901. The actual numbers are slightly higher than estimated, and are at the high end of expectations for the film. Box Office Prophets, for example, were predicting a weekend total of only $40 million, so they will need to adjust their crystal ball . . . . CATCF’s $56.2 million represents the biggest opening weekend ever for a Johnny Depp film; PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN opened with $46.1 million in 2003. Box office analysts theorize that CATCF’s ticket sales could have been even higher, except Saturday happened to coincide with the release of the latest novel in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, and many families went to the bookstore instead of the multiplex. They will, of course, have ample opportunity to catch up with Willy Wonka, Charlie Bucket, and the Oompa Loompas next weekend . . . . The Zone thanks Reemi for the box office update, and johnnybloom for the Box Office Prophets article. You can read both on the News & Views forum.