(CTN NEWS) – The summer box office has exploded with the release of filmmaker Greta Gerwig’s female-led movie “Barbie.” The film made a phenomenal $70.5 million on Friday, including $22.3 million from previews.
According to predictions, it’s on track to achieve a historic domestic opening of over $155 million, a milestone typically seen with male-driven superhero films or major intellectual properties like the final Harry Potter movie.
There are even estimates suggesting the movie could surpass $160 million, but Warner Bros. is cautiously sticking with a projection of $150 million-plus, accounting for potential fluctuations in Saturday’s ticket sales.
Barbie: Shattering Box Office Records as the Biggest Female-Directed Film
The live-action adaptation of Mattel’s iconic fashion doll, Barbie, is also proving to be a box office hit in certain international markets, with a projected international debut reaching as high as $120 million.
In North America, Barbie is set to achieve a momentous milestone by securing the biggest domestic opening ever for a movie directed solely by a woman.
Currently, this record is held by Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman, which opened with $103.3 million domestically in 2017.
Additionally, Barbie is expected to break several other records, including becoming the top-grossing opening of 2023 so far, surpassing The Super Mario Bros. Movie’s $146.3 million debut.
Among the other notable 2023 releases, Barbie outperformed Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse ($120.7 million), Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 ($118.4 million), and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania ($106.9 million), leaving many other releases struggling to reach the $100 million mark.
Greta Gerwig’s Barbie is dominating the box office, outshining Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer, which also premiered widely over the weekend.
Oppenheimer: A Box Office Triumph Surpassing Expectations and Competing with Blockbuster Releases
Oppenheimer from Universal is also performing remarkably well at the box office.
The three-hour historical drama, centered around J. Robert Oppenheimer and the creation of the atomic bomb, is exceeding expectations.
On Friday alone, Nolan’s film grossed $33 million, and it is projected to achieve a $77 million weekend, making it the director’s third-highest domestic debut, trailing only The Dark Knight Rises ($160.9 million) and The Dark Knight ($158.4 million), without adjusting for inflation.
Moreover, it is surpassing recent summer releases like The Flash, Elemental, and Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.
Barbie’s audience predominantly consists of females, accounting for 68 percent of viewers, while Oppenheimer appeals mainly to male audiences (64 percent).
In terms of biographical films, a $77 million opening for Oppenheimer in North America would rank as the third-largest ever, following American Sniper ($89.3 million) and The Passion of the Christ ($83.8 million), without adjusting for inflation.
Internationally, Oppenheimer is poised for a strong $88.9 million opening.
Before the weekend, predictions indicated that Nolan’s film would debut with a respectable $50 million domestically, while Gerwig’s Barbie was anticipated to achieve an impressive $90 million to $110 million, already an exceptional figure for a film targeted towards a female audience.
Barbenheimer: A Historic Box Office Triumph Bringing Much-Needed Relief Amidst Hollywood’s Strike
The dynamic duo of Barbie and Oppenheimer, playfully coined as “Barbenheimer,” showcased its impact on Friday, delivering a much-needed boost to the moviegoing experience and the box office, which has been struggling to fully recover from the pandemic.
This historic weekend will witness the extraordinary achievement of one movie earning $100 million or more and another crossing the $50 million mark.
In terms of revenue, this weekend could become the fourth-largest in box office history and potentially the most substantial since Avengers: Endgame, reaching a remarkable combined ticket sales estimate of around $306 million, a rare and impressive feat.
The flourishing box office success offers a welcome respite amidst the ongoing writers and actors strike, which has halted Hollywood’s productions and caused concerns among theater owners that studios may reschedule their fall and winter releases if actors cannot promote their films.
Both Barbie and Oppenheimer received high praise from Friday’s U.S. audiences, receiving A CinemaScores.
Moreover, their critics’ scores on Rotten Tomatoes are quite close, with Barbie at 90 percent and Oppenheimer at 93 percent, showcasing the strong reception from both viewers and critics.
A survey conducted by the National Association of Theater Owners revealed that around 200,000 patrons in the U.S. have already purchased tickets to experience a double feature, watching both Barbie and Oppenheimer.
However, it’s uncertain how many of these customers are part of loyalty clubs, entitling them to a certain number of reduced-cost or free tickets.
Barbenheimer’s Impact Poses Challenges for Mission: Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part One, as Sound of Freedom Emerges as a Strong Contender
The success of “Barbenheimer” is posing challenges for Tom Cruise’s Mission: Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part One. After its five-day debut, the movie grossed $78.5 million upon its release in U.S. theaters on July 12.
However, early estimates suggest a significant drop of more than 55 percent, with projected earnings of $20 million to $21 million in its second weekend, despite receiving even better reviews than Barbie and Oppenheimer.
Currently, Mission: Impossible is in a tight race with Sound of Freedom for the third-place spot.
The competition intensified for Paramount’s seventh Mission: Impossible installment as it lost Imax screens to Oppenheimer, and other premium large format screens went to either Oppenheimer or Barbie.
This loss of premium screens, with their significant upcharges, can impact the movie’s overall earnings.
Meanwhile, Angel Studios’ independent sleeper hit, Sound of Freedom, is expected to continue its strong performance, with a potential earning of $20 million or more in its third weekend.
Last weekend, it surpassed the $100 million mark domestically, an impressive feat considering its modest production budget of $14 million to $15 million.
Described as a political thriller, Sound of Freedom stars Jim Caviezel, known for his role in The Passion of the Christ, as the real-life Tim Ballard, a former agent for the Department of Homeland Security who sets out on a personal mission to bring child traffickers to justice.
While the movie has been discussed on QAnon message boards due to its conservative themes, Angel Studios clarifies that it is not a QAnon movie.
Jim Caviezel did speak at a QAnon convention in Las Vegas in late 2021, where he referenced the QAnon slogan, “The storm is upon us.”
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