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Chocolate Factories and Rom-Com Chemistry: NHP's Newest Cinema Delights

By Rasandi Fernando

NHP has stepped into the world where chocolate factories hold mysterious secrets and unexpected romances unfold as two new movies have taken storm on social media and in theaters. Timothée Chalamet’s portrayal of Willy Wonka in the musical “Wonka” has audiences hooked, while the undeniable chemistry between Sydney Sweeney and Glen Powell has sent box office numbers skyrocketing. From the surprise musicality of “Wonka,” to the TikTok sensation that is the lead actor and actress of “Anyone But You,” these films have captured the audiences of many theaters.

“Wonka,” released this past December, is a musical rendition of the original movies that depict Charlie’s journey in Wonka’s chocolate factory. However, unlike the originals, this version focuses more on the need for connection and wonder that adults and kids share rather than a lesson for children to behave. Though many people enjoyed it, the fact that “Wonka” was a musical-like film had not occurred to many viewers. It sparked a discussion on how Hollywood has slowly been hiding the musicality in films, seen in other films such as “The Color Purple” and “Mean Girls.” This is likely due to the stigma around the word “musical,” in an effort to gain a broader audience and stray away from biased thoughts. 

Source by Lindsay Kim

The creators of "Wonka" strike a chord with viewers regarding the surprise musical aspect of their movie.

“Most people don't like musicals so they probably wanted to keep it hidden to prevent people from avoiding the movie on account of it being a musical. I believe the new 'Mean Girls' movie did the same thing,” sophomore Anastasia Kostakos said.

Though “Wonka” had many musical numbers, the director, Paul King, stated that "Wonka" was “more like a movie with songs than a musical,” as the characters don't sing dialogue but it has musical and dance sequences scattered throughout the film.

“My kids really enjoyed the movie and so did I. I wasn't expecting it to be a musical but I still loved it.” English teacher Ms. Rabinowitz said.

Also released in December of 2023, “Anyone But You” has gained massive popularity online and continues to keep viewers talking. Labeled as an ode to “classic rom-coms,” the movie has gained large amounts of attention from TikTok, not only for the storyline but also for the offscreen chemistry and rumored romance between co-stars Sydney Sweeney and Glen Powell. The movie, based on Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, became the first R-rated rom-com in eight years to make more than $100 million at the worldwide box office. Moreover, due to this movie, Natasha Bedingfield’s 2004 single “Unwritten” has gained immense popularity by earning more than 1.3 million on-demand streams between December 29 and January 1. 

Another reason for the popularity of “Anyone but You” is likely due to the nostalgia the audience gets because of the similarities of the movie to the rom-coms of the 2000s. The movie has been compared to “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” or “13 Going on 30,” and the connections between the movies could be nostalgic for older teens and young adults who found themselves drawn to older rom-coms.  

“I haven't seen 'Anyone But You,' but I've noticed a pattern of 2000s nostalgia taking over a lot of media recently, namely music and fashion, so I would expect movies to follow,” sophomore Anastasia Kostakos said.

The continuous pattern of Hollywood rebranding musicals and producing more nostalgic projects may continue in the future as it has been proven to grab the audience’s attention. 


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