Many of us are still reeling from the passing of the great Gene Wilder just a few days ago, but some theaters across the country are doing their part to help ease the pain and honor his memory. AMC and other theaters will be screening two of the actor's most classic movies over the weekend, with Blazing Saddles and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory both set up for limited engagements over the holiday weekend. Not only that, but AMC is only charging $5 to see both movies.
Deadline was the first to report the news that both of these classic movies would be making their way to theaters this weekend. Willy Wonka, according to the report, is set to screen in about 200 theaters throughout the country. Blazing Saddles is looking at landing on about 60 screens. AMC will be screening both of Wilder's movies on 55 of their U.S. theaters over the weekend on Saturday and Sunday, with Willy Wonka starting at 5 p.m, and Blazing Saddles starting shortly after at 7:30 p.m. That makes for a great double feature, and AMC is charging a very reasonable $5 each to see the movies.
It probably comes as little surprise to anyone that Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is getting the wider release of the two. It is no doubt a more family friendly movie, and definitely has a larger following today than Blazing Saddles does. What might surprise Gene Wilder fans is that, while specific box office figures are not available for the movie, Willy Wonka didn't actually make all that much money upon its initial release. It is estimated that the now beloved classic only made $4 million during its initial run in 1971.
On the other hand, Blazing Saddles was arguably Wilder's biggest hit, bringing in an estimated $120 million in 1974. That would roughly translate to $550 million in today's box office dollars, which is absolutely staggering for a comedy like Blazing Saddles. The movie has been praised as one of the greatest comedies of all-time, and is just one of the many classic collaborations between Gene Wilder and comedy legend Mel Brooks.
On Monday it was revealed that the icon and legend Gene Wilder passed at the age of 83, at his home in Stamford, Connecticut. His nephew, Jordan Walker-Pearlman, revealed that the actor died due to complications from Alzheimer's disease. Though his passing is tremendously sad, the re-release of Blazing Saddles and Willy Wonka is a great way to honor his legacy, especially for those who may have never had the opportunity to see the classics in theaters before. Be sure to check local listings to see where and when you can see the movies this weekend.