Cillian Murphy as Oppenheimer and Margot Robbie as Barbie
julian de rosa | AFP | false images; Stuart C. Wilson | fake images
“Barbenheimer” exploded over the weekend, generating an estimated $235.5 million in ticket sales and reinvigorating the domestic box office.
“Barbie” grossed about $155 million during its first three days in theaters, the highest opening of 2023. Its counterpart “Oppenheimer” grossed about $80.5 million during its debut. The final numbers for the couple’s debuts will be revealed on Monday.
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“I don’t think anyone could have reasonably predicted this kind of ‘Oppenheimer’ and ‘Barbie’ confluence,” said Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at BoxOffice.com. “If you go to the movies right now, the communal experience is reminiscent of the major Marvel and Star Wars movies, but without those franchises even remotely involved.”
More than 18.5 million tickets were purchased for the combination of Warner Bros.“Barbie” and universal “Oppenheimer,” $12.8 million for “Barbie” and $5.8 million for “Oppenheimer,” according to EntTelligence data.
“It was a truly historic weekend and continues the positive box office momentum of 2023,” said Michael O’Leary, president and CEO of the National Association of Theater Owners. “More importantly, it proves once again that America loves to go to the movies to see great movies.”
Both films have a more than 90% “Fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes and inspired moviegoers to dress in head-to-toe pink or don suits and hats during their screenings.
“People recognized that something special was happening and they wanted to be a part of it,” O’Leary said. “Our partners in the creative community and at the studios brought audiences two unique, clever and original stories that were meant for the big screen, and movie lovers responded by gathering friends and family and heading to their local theaters across the country.”
With additional ticket sales for Paramount’s latest film “Mission Impossible,” Sony’s “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” and Angel Studios’ “The Sound of Freedom,” analysts expect this weekend to be the highest-grossing weekend of the year at the domestic box office.
This milestone comes at a time when the domestic box office has faced some hurdles. A host of adult-oriented blockbusters have underperformed, leading many in the industry to question whether consumer tastes have turned away from Hollywood.
“This is a landmark result that shows the enthusiasm the public has for a variety of new content,” Robbins said. “These movies have exquisitely tapped into the cultural spirit. They’ve re-ignited the summer box office flame and shown that the studios can be a little more aggressive with counter-programming strategies going forward.”
Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC. NBCUniversal is the distributor of “Oppenheimer” and owner of Rotten Tomatoes.