Critics are calling an upcoming film, which stars a replacement for actor Johnny Depp, a complete failure despite the fact that the movie has yet to make its theatrical debut.
Johnny Depp’s Apparent Fall From Grace
The tale of actor Johnny Depp’s fall from Hollywood glory has been in play for nearly seven years and seems like the neverending story, the song that has no end, the saga with an unlimited number of sequels, despite the fact that a United States court of law placed a definitive end to at least one aspect of the saga.
Following the 2017 theatrical debut of Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales–the marketing campaign for which included a promotional event at Disneyland Resort in California during which Johnny Depp waited in person to surprise unsuspecting fans riding the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction–fell out of love with Johnny Depp, and the change was based solely on the words of an actress unknown to Disney at the time–Depp’s ex-wife, Amber Heard, who led a vicious campaign of her own–one aimed at sabotaging Depp’s lifetime of accomplishments in Hollywood.
Whether it was her jealousy of his super-stardom or something deeper, Heard set out to accuse Depp of violence during their marriage that included allegations of domestic abuse and sexual abuse–allegations that were later found to be without merit by a judge and jury inside a Fairfax County, Virginia courthouse who listened to six weeks of testimony in the defamation case Depp brought against his former spouse.
But despite the court’s ruling nearly 18 months ago, Disney has yet to change its tune about Depp, and the company has still refused to apologize for its quick and baseless judgment of Depp without any proof of his alleged wrongdoing.
Depp Fans Want No Substitutes
But diehard Depp fans have been unwavering as well–in their determination to see him exonerated and in their loyalty to the star they watched grow up from a young boy from Kentucky to a Hollywood icon over a 40-year career in the business. They simply want no substitutes for Depp in any film projects, including Disney’s continually teased sixth Pirates of the Caribbean film.
Since Disney parted ways with Depp, rumors of a replacement for Captain Jack Sparrow by a myriad of actors and actresses have known no end. Among those said to be replacing Depp in a sixth Pirates film are Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Margot Robbie, Hugh Jackman, Matthew McConaughey, and even Jim Carrey, none of which has been met with the full approval of adoring Depp fans, many of whom simply say there’s no point in Disney making a sixth installment in the franchise if Depp isn’t in it.
But the sentiment of Johnny Depp’s fan following knows no bounds, and now those sentiments have gone beyond the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, extending into remakes of earlier projects in which Depp was involved, the most recent of which is Warner Bros.’ newest Wonka adaptation.
Depp Fans Have Little Interest in a New Take on an Old Depp Film
Perhaps it’s the same way fans of actor Gene Wilder felt in 2005 when Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory hit the big screen.
Wilder, who starred as the entrepreneurial chocolatier in the 1971 film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, likely had fans who weren’t thrilled when, 34 years later, a new film debuted that would effectively replace Wilder as Willy Wonka in the minds of moviegoers across the globe with a younger, more debonair actor named Johnny Depp. (Then again, who are we kidding here?)
But there may have been some Wilder fans who felt similar to the way some Depp fans feel today in response to yet another Wonka film inspired by the works of author Roald Dahl. Now, 18 years later, another Wonka film is on deck for its theatrical debut, and Johnny Depp is but a vapor of a memory in the process.
The newest Roald Dahl-inspired iteration about the quirky yet determined chocolatier in the burgundy coat is simply titled Wonka and stars the youthful Timothee Chalamet as Willy Wonka. Wonka serves as a prequel to the 1971 film rather than another take on the 1971 and 2005 films, telling the story of what led Willy to decide to be the unconventional candy maker, but it still doesn’t bode well with Johnny Depp fans.
“Some Stories Don’t Need to Be Told”
And some Depp fans have not kept their distaste for the newest film to themselves.
In a post at Animated Times, journalist Ana Walia points out the differences between fans of Timothee Chalamet and fans of Johnny Depp when it comes to the 2023 adaptation of Roald Dahl’s story of Willy Wonka:
“Whereas fans of actor Timothée Chalamet are eager to see the film in theaters,” Walia writes, “those of Johnny Depp are dissatisfied with the film’s first trailer and have expressed their displeasure on social media. [Chalamet], however, received nothing but praise from the director for his outstanding performance in the picture.”
“Timothée Chalamet is regarded as one of the finest actors of the current generation who is excited about playing Willy Wonka in ‘Wonka,’ but fans of actor Johnny Depp, who portrayed Willy Wonka in ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ (2005), are not happy.”
In response to a post on X, formerly Twitter, by DiscussingFilm, which debuted Chalamet’s look as Willy Wonka in the new film, some Depp fans didn’t keep their distaste quiet, as one user went so far as to respond with, “Some stories don’t need to be told,” referring to the latest Wonka adaptation.
First look at Timothée Chalamet as Willy Wonka in ‘WONKA’. pic.twitter.com/8ERi4UOzsm
— DiscussingFilm (@DiscussingFilm) July 11, 2023
‘Wonka’ in “Serious Trouble” Before It’s Even Released
Warner Bros. Studios’ latest take on Willy Wonka has enjoyed a lavish and extensive marketing campaign, which includes a partnership with Microsoft’s Xbox brand, among others. But despite the studio’s best efforts, the third Willy Wonka-inspired film has reportedly been deemed a failure by critics who’ve been afforded the chance to screen it weeks before its scheduled release at the box office.
According to a new report about the film, Wonka “is already in serious trouble:”
The third remake of the classic Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory has been taste-tested by critics, and they’re spitting it out. With a budget of $125 million, Wonka would need to make at least 75 percent of that in its opening weekend to have a chance of success at the box office, and right now, the film is only projected to make $25 million.
Unlike [Johnny] Depp and [Gene] Wilder, who were already critically acclaimed actors with household names at the time they put on the Candy Man’s velvet coat, Chalamet is a relatively new actor in the Hollywood scene. Though his name is becoming known pretty quickly, Chalamet only recently broke out in 2017 when he appeared in “Lady Bird” and “Call Me By Your Name,” both of which were critically acclaimed films.
There were indeed less-than-favorable opinions about Johnny Depp stepping into the role of the candy maker in place of Gene Wilder in 2005, but Charlie and the Chocolate Factory went on to gross $475 million. The budget for the film was only $150 million, making it a box office success by anyone’s measurements.
The Film is “A Mess” for Other Reasons
Critics who have already seen the new film say that a repeat of the success of Depp’s Wonka film doesn’t look to be in the proverbial cards for the 2023 iteration, and that may be due in part to many Depp fans’ unwillingness to take in another adaptation of a film they feel could never be better as it follows a previous iteration that featured Depp. But other factors will undoubtedly lead to the film’s demise–according to those who’ve screened it already.
First, Wonka tells a brand-new story in the franchise. Rather than the film centering around Charlie Bucket finding a winning golden ticket, the new film functions as an origin story for Willy Wonka himself. While the idea might have first been thought of as an interesting take–and one that could set the film up for unbridled success–critics say it may lend itself to the film’s ultimate demise.
Second, the 2023 take on Willy Wonka is a musical, and that could take the film in any direction. Some moviegoers love the surprise of a musical, while others loathe musicals so much that they won’t purchase a ticket to see one, and if they discover that a film is a musical after all, others take a notion to stand up and walk out of the theater.
At least in that case, the ticket purchase has already been made, which is good for Warner Bros.
Chalamet Could Still Surprise Them All
It’s still possible that the critics are wrong, that Timothee Chalamet could charm his way into unsuspecting Willy Wonka fans’ hearts, and that the film could break the box office wide open. Possible–not necessarily likely, but it’s possible. After all, the film is slated for a theatrical debut during the season of miracles!
Chalamet is joined by a star-studded cast that includes Calah Lane, Keegan Michael Key, Paterson Joseph, Sally Hawkins, Rowan Atkinson, Olivia Colman, and, of course, Hugh Grant as the irreplaceable Oompa Loompa.
Fans, movie lovers, and even members of the Depp opposition can see Wonka in theaters beginning December 15.