Greta Gerwig’s Barbie has officially made $1 billion globally at the box office. It is the fastest Warner Bros. Pictures release to hit the milestone after only 17 days in theaters, according to Variety. It’s also the second film to get there so far in 2023 behind The Super Mario Bros. Movie.
Barbie is the first movie from a solo female director to hit the mark, joining just a few other female-directed films that have grossed over a billion dollars internationally: Frozen and Frozen II (both co-directed by Jennifer Lee alongside Chris Buck) and Captain Marvel (co-directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck). Barbie grossed $53 million in its third weekend in the US, topping the weekend box office and putting its domestic total at $459.4 million, according to IMDB’s Box Office Mojo.
“It’s a good club to be in,” said Jeff Goldstein, Warner Bros. Pictures president of domestic distribution, in a statement to Variety.
Barbie opened strong on July 21st, taking $155 million at the box office during its opening weekend in the US in what was the highest domestic opening ever for a female-directed movie, dethroning Captain Marvel’s $153 million. Alongside Oppenheimer, the Christopher Nolan biopic that released the same day, the two movies contributed to the fourth-biggest box office weekend in US history and, as The AV Club notes, the largest that didn’t contain an Avengers or Star Wars movie.
“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,” Jeff Goldstein, Warner Bros. Pictures president of domestic distribution, said in a statement after Barbie’s opening weekend.
There are a few lessons to take from Barbie’s success. Chief among them, I’d argue, is that Gerwig — who also co-wrote the film alongside regular collaborator Noah Baumbach — deserves to be given as much money as she wants to make whatever she pleases. (She’s already attached to write and direct two Netflix films based on C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia series.)
We can also expect more from Mattel. The toy maker will be keen to dig out additional Barbie-sized successes from its catalog. Prior to the release of Barbie, The New Yorker reported that the toy company is considering adapting everything from Hot Wheels to Uno.
Barbie stars Margot Robbie as the sublime titular protagonist, while Ryan Gosling’s job is Ken.
Update August 6th, 2023: Added that Barbie is now the fastest Warner Bros. Pictures film to hit the $1 billion mark, as well as details about its domestic weekend earnings.