The hype is real: The unusual cinema duo of “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” got off to a sensational start and is setting records. Nevertheless, there is one loser.
When actress Margot Robbie (“The Suicide Squad”) met with Warner Bros. Discovery executives to talk about “Barbie,” she made the project palatable to them by saying that the film about the world’s most famous and popular toy doll would gross “a billion dollars” (via Collider). In doing so, she compared the potential scale to Steven Spielberg’s 1993 “Jurassic Park,” which had sparked a veritable dinosaur boom. She may have exaggerated a bit, admitted Robbie, who is involved in the film not only as the lead actress but also as a producer.
Whether the magic billion-dollar mark can be crossed is impossible to say for sure at this point, but Robbie wasn’t wrong in convincing Warner that “Barbie” will bring in quite a bit of cash. As Variety reports, the meta-comedy managed to pull in the most successful U.S. opening day of the year with $70.5 million, after already posting the highest U.S. ticket sales for previews of the year on Thursday with $22.2 million. This also dethroned “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” in terms of opening day. All in all, it took in around USD 155 million in the USA over the opening weekend. Here, too, “Barbie” claims a record for itself and knocks the most successful film of the year to date, “The Super Mario Bros. Movie,” off its throne with its US opening weekend result of USD 146.4 million.
Director Greta Gerwig was thus also able to set a personal best: Not only is “Barbie” the most successful film of her career, it is also the most successful U.S. opening weekend for a film directed by a woman, previously claimed by Patty Jenkins with “Wonder Woman” at $103 million. Even the result of “Captain Marvel” with 153 million U.S. dollars, which Anna Boden had directed together with Ryan Fleck, Gerwig could set. Worldwide, it’s even 337 million U.S. dollars thanks to further earnings of 182 million U.S. dollars. That’s insane! This means that the break-even point has already been reached with a budget of 145 million US dollars, so money is being raked in from now on.
The other film released on the same date is no less sensational: Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” was able to bring in $80.5 million in the U.S. on its opening weekend – despite a high release in the form of the R-rating due to “sexuality, nudity and language. For Nolan, it marks the best opening result of his career, excluding his “Dark Knight” trilogy. Worldwide, the film stands at around $174.2 million thanks to international receipts of $93.7 million.
A really strong result, which was already foreseeable in advance due to the massive hype on social media. “Barbenheimer” is more than just a hashtag or a curious portmanteau, respectively; it is two films that could not be more different in their plot, presentation and genre, and precisely because of this represent the common message that cinema is back in all its diversity.
In this form, this unusual combo is reminiscent of March 20, 2020, when “Doom Eternal” and “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” were released, two completely opposite video games. There was also hype about “Doom Crossing: Eternal Horizons,” which even has a hilarious song. If you want to shout for joy and sing out loud, then do it like Ryan Gosling as Ken in the video.
Barbenheimer Success: Tom Cruise is left behind
For Warner, this victory in the duel for the crown can be seen as a small dig at Christopher Nolan, who left his former home-and-home studio after nearly 20 years of working together. “Oppenheimer” was made at Universal Pictures. Nevertheless, both films are winners, considering their phenomenal worldwide triumph.
With so much success, however, it was clear that other films would lose out. However, most assumed that one very specific film would be spared: “Mission Impossible 7: Dead Reckoning Part One” with Tom Cruise in his parade role as IMF agent Ethan Hunt. The U.S. opening weekend result of 78.8 million U.S. dollars already gave rise to fears of bad things to come, but was then at least lifted to 235 million U.S. dollars by international receipts. In the second week, the film fell back on the North American market by a whopping 65 percent (via Deadline) and only brought in another 19.5 million US dollars. Worldwide, the action spectacle stands at 370 million US dollars. Whether the result of “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” with 791 million US dollars can still be caught up remains questionable. With a budget of around 290 million U.S. dollars, the film could actually become a losing proposition for Paramount Pictures. For this, the studio is now trying to copy the shrewd “Barbenheimer” marketing: