Big Johnny Depp Movie Sees Netflix Resurgence Amid Amber Heard Trial

Netflix has seen a surge in popularity for a Johnny Depp blockbuster. With the massive media spotlight on the defamation trial between Depp and Amber Heard, it is not surprising that all the coverage would initiate an increased interest in movies featuring the actors involved.

Netflix's Top 10 list of the most popular movies in the U.S. for Wednesday, May 18, has Johnny Depp's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at No. 10. The 2005 Tim Burton adaptation appeared on the streaming platform in January along with another Depp/Burton movie collaboration, 2012's Dark Shadows. In April, Depp's 2001 crime biopic Blow also received renewed interest and debuted on Netflix as the number five film. The family film also rocketed up the Netflix most-watched list in December 2021, per FlixPatrol.

After its release, critics have considered Charlie and the Chocolate Factory "popular but divisive." Depp and Burton attempted to resemble Roald Dahl's original book more than an outright remake. Depp starred as candy maker Willy Wonka, delivering a far more dramatic performance than Gene Wilder in the original 1970s feature film. Wilder even addressed the remaking of the movie, stating its existence was an "insult."

"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," Wilder told The Telegraph in 2004. "I like Johnny Depp and I appreciate that he has said on the record that my shoes would be hard to fill. But I don't know how it will all turn out. 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."

Netflix announced in September 2021 that it had acquired the Roald Dahl Story Company, granting it access to Roald Dahl adaptations and the ability to create originals based on Roald Dahl tales. Netflix hasn't disclosed financial details, but it's presumed to be one of its most significant acquisitions. An earlier deal with the company, signed in 2018, gave it the animated rights to 16 Dahl titles, which allegedly was in the nine-figure range. As a result of this deal, Taika Waititi and Phil Johnson are developing a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory animated series. At the same time, Sony and Working Title plan a Matilda adaptation based on the Broadway play.

Netflix is also reportedly making a series based on Matilda separate from the upcoming film adaptation of the hit Broadway musicalSelma filmmaker Ava DuVernay was creating the project; however, in April, its first showrunner was fired after concerns about cultural insensitivity arose.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory brought in $475 million worldwide, making it the 58th highest-grossing film of all time. The film remains Tim Burton's second-highest-grossing movie, behind only 2010's Alice in Wonderland.