Rivalry Hype Profits Barbie, Oppenheimer

Blockbusters hit milestones in opening weekend
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 23, 2023 2:15 PM CDT
Rivalry Hype Profits Barbie , Oppenheimer
This image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Margot Robbie, from left, Alexandra Shipp, Michael Cera, Ariana Greenblatt and America Ferrera in a scene from "Barbie."   (Warner Bros. Pictures via AP)

"Barbenheimer" didn't just work—it spun box office gold. The social media-fueled fusion of Greta Gerwig's Barbie and Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer brought moviegoers back to the theaters in record numbers this weekend, vastly outperforming projections and giving a glimmer of hope to the lagging exhibition business against the sobering backdrop of Hollywood strikes. Warner Bros.' Barbie claimed the top spot with a massive $155 million in ticket sales from North American theaters from 4,243 locations, surpassing The Super Mario Bros. Movie as the biggest opening of the year and breaking the first weekend record for a film directed by a woman. Universal's Oppenheimer also soared past expectations, taking in $80.5 million from 3,610 theaters in the US and Canada, the AP reports.

It's also the first time that one movie opened to more than $100 million and another movie opened to more than $80 million in the same weekend. When all is settled, it will likely turn out to be the fourth-biggest box office weekend of all time with over $300 million industrywide. The Barbenheimer phenomenon may have started out as good-natured competition between two aesthetic opposites, but both movies benefited. Internationally, Barbie earned $182 million from 69 territories, fueling a $337 million global weekend.
Oppenheimer did $93.7 million from 78 territories, ranking above Barbie in India, for a $174.2 million global total. The only real casualty was Mission: Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part I, which fell 64% in its second weekend, partly because of losing its IMAX screens to Oppenheimer.

Below are estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at US and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore:

  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 Destiny, $6.7 million.
  6. Insidious: The 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 Beasts, 1.1 million.
  10. No Hard Feelings, $1.1 million.
(More box office stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.