Why’d it Hit? Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)

Kevthewriter wonders why Tim Burton’s Willy Wonka remake was a hit.

If you think about it, the two Willy Wonka movies are basically the inverse of each other. The 1971 movie wasn’t that successful at the box office when it came out and Roald Dahl hated it but, as generations have grown up on it, it’s become a beloved classic. The 2005 movie got good reviews and was a box office success but has faded into obscurity more or less, unless someone wants to talk about how Tim Burton sucks now or their comparing it to the 1971 movie.

But why was it so financially successful, if most seem to think it is yet another bad remake by Tim Burton?

4. It was probably going to be successful just based on the title
Everyone knows what Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is, even if they haven’t seen it. As a result, many people were probably going to see it whether or not it was good. Sure, the first one (the one that everyone knows) may not have been that successful at the box office when it first came out but, to be fair, the book was only 7 years old when it came out so it wasn’t really as nostalgic or popular at the time as it is now.

3. It was more divisive than hated when it first came out
I will admit I may be misremembering but, when it first came out, not only did critics like it but I remember it seemed like people either loved what Burton did with it or hated it. Nowadays, while I think most groups in general have moved on, it seems there are more who hated it who still talk about it than those who loved it.

2. People wanted to see if it was closer to the book
At the time, Burton, Warner Brothers, and even Roald Dahl’s family were insisting that this movie was closer to the book than the 1971 movie. In reality, it took a lot of liberties itself (Willy Wonka didn’t have daddy issues for one thing) and wasn’t exactly the word for word adaptation it was made out to be but some people probably wanted to see how it stacked up to the book and whether or not it was closer to the source material than the Gene Wilder flick.

1. The Burton/Depp Hype
At the time, Depp was still riding high off of his breakout performance as Jack Sparrow. Not only that but he was re-teaming with Tim Burton, the man who directed him in such beloved flicks as Edward Scissorhands and Ed Wood. Plus, at the time, the team was still beloved by audiences and they weren’t tired of them working together all the time yet, because the last time they had worked together was 6 years ago and Depp wasn’t in all of his movies at that point. Therefore I think, because audiences wanted to see what kind of kooky character Depp would make next and they wanted to see him re team with the guy who directed him in Edward Scissorhands, they ended up going to see the movie.

In fact, I actually loved it when it first came out but, upon re-watch, it didn’t really age well and I think I might’ve just been swept up by the hype of seeing Burton and Depp work together again and see if it was really as close to the book as people were making it out to be. In fact, while I can’t speak for everyone that liked the movie, I think many who did like it liked it because they had been swept up in the hype and, once the hype died down, it turned out the movie was…not that great.

Oh well, at least it could always be worse. It could be this:


Posted on August 2, 2017, in Why'd It hit? and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I love both the movies since I grew up watchin both (the Gene Wilder one on dvd)😁


  2. jeffthewildman

    When I first hear about the Tom and Jerry Wonka, I figured it had to be a joke.

    This one was big for a while on account of curiosity. You had people who were curious to see how it would stack up to the Gene Wilder one and a smaller segment of the public who felt that the Gene Wilder one had ruined the book. But after a while that faded. That’s the most likely reason why although this one was a hit at the time, it’s been pretty much forgotten 12 years later.

    I thought this one wasn’t that bad. But it wasn’t a classic like the original. Depp was good if more than a little creepy. But the “Wonka with daddy issues” felt tacked on and the moralizing about the importance of family was annoying. The original had its moral points. But it made them in a far more fun way.


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