The decade's most triggering comedy
Moviegoers showed up for Greta Gerwig’s highly anticipated fantasy comedy “Barbie,” which outdid expectations with a $155 million opening, the biggest debut of the year so far. Mainstream critics heaped praise on the film and creators spent a massive amount on marketing in the months leading up to its release.
However, the marketing campaign for “Barbie” largely omitted the overt feminist themes present in the movie.
“Barbie” earned an additional $182 million at the international box office, bringing its total earnings to $337 million in the first weekend alone, per a Variety report.
“We have a pink unicorn here,” Jeff Goldstein, president of domestic distribution at Warner Bros., said. “We thought it would be $75 million for the opening weekend. Nobody saw $155 million coming. This doll has long legs.”
Christopher Nolan’s historical drama “Oppenheimer” also outperformed expectations. The movie starring Cillian Murphy as the titular character raked in an impressive $80.5 million domestically on opening weekend. Combined with international box office numbers, the film brought in a total of $174 million.
Though the movies couldn’t have been more different, many theatergoers made the event into a double feature, no doubt bolstering revenue for both by choosing to lean into the “Barbenheimer” hype.
“This is an unequivocally great weekend for moviegoing,” David A. Gross of the movie consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research said of the results. “‘Barbie’ and ‘Oppenheimer’ are complementing each other at the box office, not taking audience from each other.”
The unique pairing has led to this weekend becoming the fourth-highest of all time in the movie industry. Variety noted that the top three performing weekends were led by the debuts of sequels in highly popular franchises — “Avengers: Endgame,” “Avengers: Infinity War,” and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” That makes this result especially surprising.
Though “Barbie” technically outperformed “Oppenheimer,” the historical drama is still being considered a huge success.
“This is a 1940s period piece,” Universal’s President of Domestic Distribution Jim Orr said of the early numbers. “That speaks volumes to the appeal of Nolan and his prowess as a filmmaker. He has an amazing reputation for storytelling in the biggest format possible.”
Analysts had originally predicted that “Oppenheimer” drama could bring in $50 million.