''Charlie'' tops the weekend box office. Burton and Depp's new movie version beats out ''Wedding Crashers'' and ''War of the Worlds''

By Dave Karger
Updated July 16, 2005 at 04:00 AM EDT
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: Peter Mountain

How’s this for a sweet result? Johnny Depp and Tim Burton’s eye-popping film version of Roald Dahl’s classic book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory grossed $55.4 million in its opening weekend, according to studio estimates.

Interestingly, Charlie‘s box office tally decreased from Friday ($20.8 million) to Saturday ($19.1 million), very unusual for a family film. But that can easily be attributed to the early-Saturday release of the latest Harry Potter book, which certainly meant some kids who would otherwise have been flocking to the multiplex stayed in bed all day reading instead. Still, Charlie topped Pirates of the Caribbean‘s $46.6 million opening-weekend take to become Depp’s biggest debut ever. (In just three days, it also surpassed the entire $51.7 million gross of his last release, Finding Neverland.)

Also opening impressively was the raucous comedy Wedding Crashers, starring Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn, which rode its excellent buzz and mostly positive reviews to a $32.2 million debut.

The news wasn’t so good for last week’s No. 1 film, Fantastic Four, which saw a huge 60 percent drop to $22.7 million, bringing its 10-day total just past $100 million. As expected, War of the Worlds and Batman Begins rounded out the top five, with $15 million and $5.6 million, respectively. And thanks to Willy Wonka and those wacky wedding freaks, the overally box office was up from last year for the second week in a row. Slump? What slump?

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