Charlie and the Chocolate Factory spikes on Netflix amid Johnny Depp-Amber Heard trial
As Johnny Depp's defamation trial against his ex-wife Amber Heard continues to make headlines, one of the actor's more polarizing movies has been experiencing a resurgence on streaming. Seventeen years after its theatrical release, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has cracked Netflix's top 10 most popular movies in the U.S.; as of Tuesday afternoon, it's sitting in the No. 8 spot.
Based on Roald Dahl's 1964 children's book of the same name, the film stars Depp as the eccentric chocolatier Willy Wonka, who welcomes five lucky children (and their guardians) to an exclusive tour of his factory. There's also a special prize awaiting them, should they make it to the end of their adventure.
Tim Burton directed Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which came three and a half decades after Mel Stuart's beloved adaptation of Dahl's book, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Stuart's version starred Gene Wilder as Wonka, in one of his signature roles, which left Depp with big shoes to fill.
Burton and Depp's film grossed more than $475 million at the worldwide box office and received generally positive reviews (EW gave it a B-), though Depp's unsettling performance was somewhat divisive.
For Wilder's part, he wasn't a fan of the remake. "It's just some people sitting around thinking, 'How can we make some more money?' Why else would you remake Willy Wonka? I don't see the point of going back and doing it all over again," he said in 2013, speaking at a 92Y event. Though he added that he liked Depp and appreciated that he'd acknowledged Wilder would be a tough act to follow, the original big-screen Wonka remained skeptical. "Right now, the only thing that does take some of the edge off this for me is that Willy Wonka's name isn't in the title," he said.
Several other Depp titles are currently available on Netflix, including some that are more highly regarded than Charlie, such as Nightmare on Elm Street and Donnie Brasco. At the moment, though, none are currently as popular.
Depp is suing Heard for $50 million over a 2018 Washington Post op-ed she wrote about her experiences as a domestic violence survivor. Though she never mentioned him by name in the piece, Depp's lawyers argue that it clearly refers to him and has damaged his career and reputation. Heard has filed a $100 million countersuit, alleging Depp and his legal team defamed her by calling her allegations false.