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Greta Gerwig’s Barbie blasts into the blockbuster record books with $155 million US opening

Greta Gerwig’s Barbie blasts into the blockbuster record books with $155 million US opening

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It’s the best US opening ever for a film directed by a woman, and when combined with Oppenheimer’s $80.5 million, ‘Barbenheimer’ contributed to the fourth biggest box office weekend in US history.

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Margot Robbie in the Barbie movie.
Yep, $155 million seems Kenough to me.
Image: Warner Bros. Pictures

Legions of Barbie-core and biopic fans descended onto theaters this weekend for the “Barbenheimer” box office phenomenon, but one pink-plastered performance, in particular, came out on top. Greta Gerwig’s Barbie has already smashed several records, raking in $155 million domestically over the weekend — the highest US opening ever for a film directed by a woman — beating the previous $153 million achieved by Anna Boden’s Captain Marvel.

“The massive, overwhelming response we’ve seen out there proves what we’ve known from the beginning: that ‘Barbie’ is not only an incredibly special film, but clearly the theatrical event of the summer, if not the year,” said Jeff Goldstein, Warner Bros. Pictures president of domestic distribution in a statement. “We couldn’t be more thrilled to be part of it, and congratulate everyone involved in this brilliant labor of love.”

A blockbuster opening weekend that didn’t involve a superhero or its 15th sequel.

Barbie also dethrones The Super Mario Bros Movie ($146 million) as the highest-grossing domestic opening for 2023, and achieved $337 million in combined worldwide box-office sales. There are no real losers this weekend though — Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer opened ahead of industry estimations with $174.2 million earned worldwide, with around $80.5 million achieved domestically. According to AVClub, “Barbenheimer’s” combined earnings contributed to this being the fourth-biggest box office weekend for all movies in US history, and the largest not driven by Disney franchises like Star Wars or Marvel.

Oppenheimer similarly broke several records on its own. According to Deadline (which has compiled a list of all the box office records achieved by both movies) the R-rated historical drama had the biggest global opening day and weekend for a biopic, having outperformed Bohemian Rhapsody’s $124 million. It’s also Nolan’s third-highest-grossing opening weekend ever in both domestic and global markets, and his biggest non-superhero movie to date behind The Dark Knight Rises ($161 million domestic) and The Dark Knight ($158 million).

If anything, these figures show that the hype surrounding “Barbenheimer” was earnest. What initially started as a joke — playing off that two movies with such stark differences in tone would be sharing an opening weekend — grew to an internet phenomenon that saw 200,000 US theater-goers buying tickets to see both movies on the same day, according to the National Association of Theater Owners. Rather than pick the low-hanging fruit of making this event a “boys vs girls” contest, viewers have chosen to support both movies. It’s wonderful to see such a celebration of cinema that doesn’t involve a multiversal superhero movie or its 15th sequel.