Box Office Stunner: ‘Barbie’ Opens to Staggering $162M, ‘Oppenheimer’ Snags $82.4M (2024)

The summer box office just went nuclear.

Filmmaker Greta Gerwig‘s female-fueled Barbie opened to a historic $162 million domestically, a threshold usually reserved for male-driven superhero fare or marquee IP, such as the final Harry Potter movie. It came in well ahead of an expected $90 million to $110 million and helped fuel one of the biggest weekends in history. And the final figure of $162 million was even ahead of Sunday’s already-stupendous $155 million.

Barbie — which brings to life Mattel’s iconic fashion doll — is also strutting to big numbers overseas. The pic launched to an impressive $194.3 from 70 markets for a dazzling global debut of $356.3 million against a $145 million production budget (similar to domestic, Monday actuals were ahead of Sunday estimates). It scored the biggest opening ever for a WB title in major markets, including Mexico ($22.3 million), Brazil ($15.9 million) and Australia ($14.6 million). The U.K. led with $22.9 million, the biggest showing for the studio since the pandemic. Barbie wasn’t expected to make a big splash in Asian markets, although it did do better than expected in China, with $8.2 million.

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In North America, Barbie scored the biggest domestic start ever for a movie directed by a woman, solo or otherwise. The solo crown previously belonged to Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman, which started off with $103.3 million domestically in 2017. In 2019, the Anna Boden- and Ryan Fleck-directed Captain Marvel opened to $153 million.

Barbie also set a slew of other records, including landing the top opening of 2023 to date, ahead of The Super Mario Bros. Movie ($146.3 million). The next closest 2023 launch belonged to Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse ($120.7 million), followed by Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 ($118.4 million) and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania ($106.9 million). Otherwise, many releases haven’t been able to inch past the $100 million mark.

It also marks the biggest opening for Barbie stars Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, the biggest three-day opening for a movie based on a toy — eclipsing Transformers: Dark of the Moon ($115.9 million) — and Warners’ biggest opening for a non-DC pic or a sequel.

Gerwig’s film towered over Christopher Nolan‘s Oppenheimer, the weekend’s other new wide release.

Not that Oppenheimer, from Universal, is any slouch. The three-hour, R-rated historical drama about J. Robert Oppenheimer and the making of the atomic bomb likewise came in well ahead of expectations with $82.4 million (that’s up from Sunday’s estimate of $80.5 million). That’s the filmmaker’s third-biggest domestic debut behind The Dark Knight Rises ($160.9 million) and The Dark Knight ($158.4 million), not adjusted for inflation. It also will come in ahead of recent summer pics including The Flash, Elemental and Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.

Barbie is skewing heavily female, or 68 percent, while Oppenheimer is male-dominated (64 percent). The performance of Oppenheimer was almost more surprising to some than Barbie, considering its running time and topic.

Other stats: Oppenheimer ranks as the third-biggest opening ever for a biographical film in North America behind American Sniper ($89.3 million) and The Passion of the Christ ($83.8 million), not adjusted for inflation.

Overseas, Oppenheimer launched with a strong $98 million from 78 markets, up from Sunday’s estimate of $93.7 million. The film was Nolan’s biggest non-superhero opening in no fewer than 55 markets. The film’s global start is $180.4 million against a $100 million production budget.

Heading into the weekend, tracking suggested Nolan’s film would start off with a solid $50 million domestically.

The one-two punch of Barbie and Oppenheimer — a phenomenon dubbed “Barbenheimer” — was a needed boost for moviegoing and the box office, which has yet to recover fully from the pandemic. This will be the first three-day weekend in history when one movie earns $100 million or more and another $50 million or more.

Revenue-wise, this is the fourth-biggest weekend of all time and the biggest since Avengers: Endgame, according to Comscore, with combined ticket sales hitting $311.1 million in a rare feat. The sizzling box office is a welcome respite from the ongoing writers and actors strike, which has brought Hollywood to a standstill and sparked worry among theaters owners that studios will begin moving their fall and winter releases if actors can’t promote their films.

Both Barbie and Oppenheimer were graced with A CinemaScores from audiences in the U.S., and their critics’ scores on Rotten Tomatoes store aren’t far apart — 90 percent versus 93 percent, respectively.

Cinemark, one of the country’s largest theater circuits, said the two films fueled the exhibitor’s biggest summer weekend of all time.

“People love coming together to experience great storytelling in a movie theater, as proven yet again by the sheer volume of consumers who visited our locations to see Barbie and Oppenheimer during opening weekend,” said Cinemark chief marketing and content officer Wanda Gierhart Fearing. “It appears Barbie actually is everything, and Christopher Nolan fans turned out in droves to see his newest masterpiece in the larger-than-life theatrical format that he intended. Congratulations to our studio partners, as well as the entire creative community for delivering films that generate these record-breaking results.”

Barbenheimer isn’t making life easy for Tom Cruise starrer Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning, Part One. The film tumbled a steep 65 percent to $19.4 million for a domestic total of $118.6 million. It held up better overseas, where it earned another $55 million from 72 markets for a foreign tally of $252.1 million and $370.9 million globally.

Paramount’s seventh Mission: Impossible film had to contend with losing Imax screens to Oppenheimer in addition to losing other premium large format screens to either Oppenheimer or Barbie. The upcharge for Imax and premium large-format screens is significant and can have a big impact on the bottom line.

Angel Studios’ faith-based political thriller Sound of Freedom enjoyed another strong weekend. And, in the U.S., it beat narrowly Dead Reckoning with $19.9 million for a cume of $124.4 million, ahead of MI7.

Sound of Freedom stars The Passion of the Christ’s Jim Caviezel as the real-life Tim Ballard, who worked as an agent for the Department of Homeland Security before embarking on his own quest to bring child traffickers to justice. While the conservative-leaning Sound of Freedom has been discussed on QAnon message boards, Angel says it isn’t a QAnon movie. In late 2021, Caviezel spoke at a QAnon convention in Las Vegas, where he invoked the QAnon slogan, “The storm is upon us.”

July 23, 7:25 a.m.: Updated with weekend estimates.
July 23, 9:20 a.m.: Updated with foreign estimates.
July 23, 1:00 p.m.: Updated with revised estimates for Sound of Freedom.
July 24, 7 a.m.: Updated with Monday actuals for Barbie and Oppenheimer.
July 24, 4:02 p.m.: Updated with Monday actuals for Mission: Impossible 7 and Sound of Freedom.

Box Office Stunner: ‘Barbie’ Opens to Staggering $162M, ‘Oppenheimer’ Snags $82.4M (2024)


Box Office Stunner: ‘Barbie’ Opens to Staggering $162M, ‘Oppenheimer’ Snags $82.4M? ›

Box Office Stunner: 'Barbie' Opens to Staggering $162M, 'Oppenheimer

Oppenheimer is a 2023 epic biographical thriller film written, directed, and produced by Christopher Nolan. It follows the life of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the American theoretical physicist who helped develop the first nuclear weapons during World War II. › wiki › Oppenheimer_(film)
' Snags $82.4M. Thanks to the "Barbenheimer" phenomenon, it is the fourth-biggest weekend of all time at the domestic box office.

How much did Barbie and Oppenheimer make at the box office in their opening weekends? ›

Box Office: 'Barbie' Opens to Record-Setting $155 Million, 'Oppenheimer' Shatters Expectations With $80 Million Debut.

Who did better at the box office, Barbie or Oppenheimer? ›

Barbie held the number 1 spot for four weekends, while Oppenheimer became the most successful movie, never to be number 1 at the box office.

How much did Oppenheimer cost to make? ›

So Nolan, in order to remain under the movie's $100 million budget (a small budget compared to what he's previously commanded), even reduced his own directing, writing, and producing fees on “Oppenheimer” so he could maximize what he earned on the back end.

Who won between Barbie and Oppenheimer? ›

Now to the final consensus: which movie won Barbenheimer? Objectively, Barbie won in terms of money made at the Box Office as it has surpassed $1 billion worldwide while Oppenheimer has just passed $788 million as of writing this. However, in terms of ratings, Oppenheimer won.

Who is the highest paid Barbie? ›

The most expensive Barbie ever sold: Stefano Canturi Barbie

Created by Australian jewelry designer Stefano Canturi, this one-of-a-kind Barbie sold at auction house Christie's in 2010 for $302,500, and the proceeds went to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, making this a surprisingly feel-good story.

Why is Barbie beating Oppenheimer? ›

The film's wide demographic appeal and clever marketing contributed to its success. Barbie's PG-13 rating made it suitable for kids while also attracting adult viewers. Oppenheimer's R rating limited its audience, as it dealt with mature themes.

What is the #1 Barbie movie? ›

Barbie in the Nutcracker

How much did Margot Robbie get paid for Barbie? ›

According to a report in Variety in 2022, Robbie's salary for 'Barbie,' which is to be released in the United States on 21 July, is $12.5 million. It's a pay packet that is thought to have made her 2022′s highest-paid female actor. The Australian's income also comes from her numerous endorsem*nts by well-known brands.

Who tried out for Ken in Barbie? ›

Matt Bomer Dressed as Different Versions of Ken in 'Barbie' Audition Tape Before Passing on Role. The 'Fellow Travelers' and 'Doom Patrol' star ultimately declined the role to avoid having to spend extensive time away from his family.

How rich is Chris Nolan? ›

As of 2024, Nolan'snet worth stands tall at a staggering $250 million, a testament to his prowess not only as a filmmaker but also as a master of generating revenue.

What was the most expensive movie ever made? ›

Cost: $533 million

As the first of the Star Wars films released by Walt Disney Studios, the production spared no expense when filming The Force Awakens. As the most expensive film e-v-e-r made, the high budget was matched by the box office earnings at a whopping $2 billion.

Has Barbie ever had a girlfriend? ›

While some on social are wondering how Barbie snagged a girlfriend before them, or when exactly she came out, Aimee Song weighed in to make the relationship Twitter-official. “I am the girlfriend,” Aimee tweeted, alongside a photo of herself and her Barbie likeness wearing her “Love Wins” t-shirts.

How old is Barbie boyfriend? ›

Technically, Ken has no official age (he is a doll, after all) although he was first introduced as Barbie's boyfriend on March 11, 1961, which means he has been around for 62 years. (Barbie was created in 1959, which would make her 64.)

Did Barbie marry Ken? ›

Apparently, Barbie will never get married. According to the wishes of Barbie creator Ruth Handler, part of Barbie's appeal to young children was that she defied patriarchal norms, and would never walk down the aisle toward Ken or have children. I'm sorry to say, Ruth, but that wasn't how we played it.

Did Barbie or Oppenheimer make more on opening weekend? ›

'Barbie' beats 'Oppenheimer' at the box office with a record $155 million debut.

How much did Oppenheimer make on opening weekend? ›

Oppenheimer, directed by Christopher Nolan, brought in $82.4 million in its opening weekend.

How much did Barbie and Oppenheimer make? ›

Update, July 24: The final numbers are in, and they're huge: Barbie wound up earning $162 million domestic, with Oppenheimer coming in at $82.5 million. Internationally, Barbie made $194.3 million, with Oppenheimer earning $98 million. Math is hard, but let's just say that's a lot of money.

How much did Barbie make in opening weekend? ›

Barbie, one of the summer's most highly anticipated movies, grossed more than $155 million in the U.S. box office over its opening weekend, including a massive $70.5 million opening day, making it the biggest opening weekend of the year and the biggest ever opening weekend for a female-directed movie—Barbie went on to ...


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