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The ‘Barbie’ bonanza continues at the box office, ‘Oppenheimer’ holds the No. 2 spot

Barbie Mattel
Posted at 3:57 PM, Jul 30, 2023

A week later, the “Barbenheimer” boom has not abated.

Seven days after Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie” and Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” conspired to set box office records, the two films held unusually strongly in theaters. “Barbie” took in a massive $93 million in its second weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday. “Oppenheimer” stayed in second with a robust $46.2 million. Sales for the two movies dipped 43% and 44%, respectably — well shy of the usual week-two drops.

“Barbenheimer” has proven to be not a one-weekend phenomenon but an ongoing box-office bonanza. The two movies combined have already surpassed $1 billion in worldwide ticket sales. Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for data firm Comscore, call it “a touchstone moment for movies, moviegoers and movie theaters.”

“Having two movies from rival studios linked in this way and both boosting each other's fortunes — both box-office wise and it terms of their profile — I don't know if there's a comp for this in the annals of box-office history," said Dergarabedian. “There's really no comparison for this.”

Following its year-best $162 million opening, the pink-infused pop sensation of “Barbie” saw remarkably sustained business through the week and into the weekend. The film outpaced Nolan's “The Dark Knight" to have the best first 11 days in theaters of any Warner Bros. release ever.

“Barbie” has rapidly accumulated $351.4 million in U.S. and Canadian theaters, a rate that will soon make it the biggest box-office hit of the summer. Every day it’s played, “Barbie" has made at least $20 million.

And the “Barbie” effect isn't just in North America. The film made $122.2 million internationally over the weekend. Its global tally has reached $775 million. It's the kind of business that astounds even veteran studio executives.

“That's a crazy number,” said Jeff Goldstein, distribution chief for Warner Bros. “There's just a built-in audience that wants to be part of the zeitgeist of the moment. Wherever you go, people are wearing pink. Pink is taking over the world."

Amid the frenzy, “Barbie” is already attracting a lot of repeat moviegoers. Goldstein estimates that 12% of sales are people going back with friends or family to see it again.

For a movie industry that has been trying to regain its pre-pandemic footing — and that now finds itself largely shuttered due to actors and screenwriters strikes — the sensations of “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” have showed what's possible when everything lines up just right.

“Post-pandemic, there's no ceiling and there's no floor," Goldstein said. "The movies that miss really miss big time, and the movies that work really work big time."

Universal Pictures' “Oppenheimer,” meanwhile, is performing more like a superhero movie than a three-hour film about scientists talking.

Nolan’s drama starring Cillian Murphy as atomic bomb physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer has accrued $174.1 million domestically thus far. With an additional $72.4 million in international cinemas, “Oppenheimer” has already surpassed $400 million globally.

Showings in IMAX have typically been sold out. “Oppenheimer” has made $80 million worldwide on IMAX. The large-format exhibitor said Sunday that it will extend the film's run through Aug. 13.

The week’s top new release, Walt Disney Co.’s “Haunted Mansion,” an adaptation of the Disney theme park attraction, was easily overshadowed by the “Barbenheimer” blitz. The film, which cost about $150 million, debuted with $24 million domestically and $9 million in overseas sales. “Haunted Mansion,” directed by Justin Simien (“Dear White People,” “Bad Hair”) and starring an ensemble of LaKeith Stanfield, Tiffany Haddish, Owen Wilson, Danny DeVito and Rosario Dawson, struggled to overcome mediocre reviews.

“Talk to Me,” the A24 supernatural horror film, fared better. It debuted with $10 million. The film, directed by Australian filmmakers Danny and Michael Philippou and starring Sophie Wilde, was a midnight premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January and received terrific reviews from critics (95% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes). It was made for a modest $4.5 million.

While theaters being flush with moviegoers has been a huge boon to the film industry, it’s been tougher sledding for Tom Cruise, the so-called savior of the movies last summer with “Top Gun: Maverick.” “Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part I,” which debuted the week before the arrival of “Barbenheimer,” grossed $10.7 million in its third weekend. The film starring Cruise and directed by Christopher McQuarrie, has grossed $139.2 million domestically and $309.3 million oveseas.

Instead, the sleeper hit “Sound of Freedom” has been the best performing non-“Barbenheimer” release in theaters. The Angel Studios’ release, which is counting crowdfunding pay-it-forward sales in its box office totals, made $12.4 million in its fourth weekend, bringing its haul thus far to nearly $150 million.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.

1. “Barbie,” $93 million.

2. “Opppenheimer,” $46.2 million.

3. “Haunted Mansion,” $24.2 million.

4. “Sound of Freedom,” $12.4 million.

5. “Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One,” $10.7 million.

6. “Talk to Me,” $10 million.

7. “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny,” $4 million.

8. “Elemental,” $3.4 million.

9. “Insidious: The Red Door,” $3.2 million.

10. “Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani,” $1.6 million.