‘Babenheimer’ wasn’t just a success, it generated box office revenue. The social media fusion of Greta Gerwig’s ‘Barbie’ and Christopher Nolan’s ‘Oppenheimer’ has brought record numbers of movie-goers back to theaters this weekend, far exceeding expectations and providing a glimmer of hope for the faltering exhibition business amid the solemn backdrop of the strike.
Warner Bros. ‘Barbie’ topped 4,243 theaters in North America with a whopping $155 million in ticket sales, surpassing the ‘Super Mario Bros. movies’ (and all Marvel films this year) to become the biggest opening of the year and the first weekend record for a film directed by a woman. Universal’s Oppenheimer also surpassed expectations, grossing $80.5 million across 3,610 theaters in the U.S. and Canada, making it Nolan’s biggest non-Batman directorial debut and the best start of any R-rated biopic ever.
It’s also the first time that one movie has opened at over $100 million and another at over $80 million in the same weekend. If all goes well, it would be the fourth-biggest weekend box office of all time, exceeding $300 million across the industry. And in a market that is increasingly tilted towards intellectual property-driven winners, all of this counts.
The “Barbenheimer” phenomenon may have started as a nifty competition between two aesthetically opposites, but as many expected, both films ultimately paid off. Internationally, “Barbie” earned $182 million in 69 territories, making him a $337 million global weekend. “Oppenheimer” grossed $93.7 million in 78 territories, surpassing “Barbie” in India and grossing $174.2 million worldwide.
The only casualty was “Mission: Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part I,” which dropped 64% in its second weekend despite high ratings and a strong opening weekend. With the brilliance of “Barbenheimer” and the blow of losing his IMAX screen to “Oppenheimer,” Tom Cruise’s vehicle added $19.5 million to his domestic gross of $118.8 million.
“Barbenheimer” is not just another show. But while some of the moviegoers aficionados overlapped, the audience as a whole was different.
According to PostTrak, women drove the historic “Barbie” opening, making up 65 percent of the audience, and 40 percent of ticket buyers for the PG-13 rated film were under the age of 25.
“It’s just a fun time in the world right now. This is history in many ways,” said Jeff Goldstein of Warner Bros. President of domestic distribution. “I think this marketing campaign of his is from an era where people keep talking forever.”
Oppenheimer’s viewers, on the other hand, were 62% male, 63% 25 and over, and somewhat surprisingly 32% were 18-24.
Both “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” received high scores of 90% and 94% respectively from critics on Rotten Tomatoes, as well as audiences who gave both films an A cinema score. And social media was flooded with reactions and “takes” throughout the weekend, with the good, the bad, the problems, and everywhere in between the kind of organic, event-movie, water-cooler-like discussions that marketing budgets can’t buy.
“The Barbenheimer thing was a real boost for both films,” Goldstein said. “This is a crowning achievement for all of us.”
“Oppenheimer” had the majority (80%) of the premium large screen at its disposal. Roughly 25 theaters in North America boasted his IMAX 70mm showings (director Nolan’s preferred format), but most sold out completely over the weekend, accounting for his 2% of total box office receipts. Theaters scrambled to run additional screenings to keep up with demand, and the 1:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. screenings were also sold out.
“A Nolan movie is a true cinematic event,” said Jim Orr, Universal’s president of domestic distribution.
With IMAX screenings alone accounting for 26% of domestic box office receipts (or $21.1 million) on just 411 screens and 20% of worldwide box office receipts, ‘Oppenheimer’ will run for at least three weeks on those high-demand screens.
“This is a phenomena beyond compare,” IMAX CEO Rich Gelfond said in a statement. “All over the world, I’ve seen 4 a.m. shows sold out and people traveling hours across borders to see ‘Oppenheimer’ in IMAX 70mm.”
This is the comeback weekend Hollywood has dreamed of since the pandemic. Despite big openings and successes such as Spider-Man: No Way Home, Top Gun: Maverick, and Avatar: The Way of Water, the fact that two films are successful at the same time is remarkable.
“It’s a truly historic weekend and continues the strong momentum of box office earnings in 2023,” said Michael O’Leary, president and CEO of the National Association of Theater Owners. “People realized that something special was going on and wanted to be a part of it.”
But the backdrop is looming disaster as Hollywood studios continue to battle impressive actors and writers over fair contracts.
‘Barbie’ and ‘Oppenheimer’ were the last films on the 2023 calendar to have major global press tours. Both made it to the eleventh hour, packing movie stars and final moments. Oppenheimer has an hour early London premiere, knowing that Emily Blunt, Matt Damon and Cillian Murphy will have to leave to symbolically join the picket line before the film begins.
With movie stars unable to promote their movies, studios are pushing for fall releases, including Zendaya’s high-profile tennis drama Challengers.
But for now, it’s just a positive story and could even continue for the next few weeks.
“There’s a chance the sequel will air next weekend,” said Paul Dargarabedian, senior media analyst at comScore. “The FOMO factor will be heightened with this monumental box office event centered around the cinema experience.”
Estimated ticket sales Friday through Sunday at US and Canadian theaters, according to comScore. Final national statistics will be released on Monday.
1. “Barbie,” $155 million.
2. “Oppenheimer,” $80.5 million.
3. “Sound of Freedom,” $20.1 million.
4. “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part I”, $19.5 million.
5. Indiana Jones and the Dial of Fate, $6.7 million.
6. “Insidious: Red Door,” $6.5 million.
7. “Elemental,” $5.8 million.
8. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, $2.8 million.
9. Transformers: Rise of the Beast, 1.1 million copies.
10. “No Hard Feelings,” $1.1 million.
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https://fox40.com/news/national/ap-us-news/ap-barbie-in-1st-and-oppenheimer-in-2nd-fuel-historic-box-office-bonanza/ ‘Barbie’ Takes Box Office Crown, ‘Oppenheimer’ Soars In Historic Weekend