The Future. With Greta Gerwig’s Barbie making $162 million domestically, and Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer pulling in $82.4 million, some major box office records were shattered, reinforcing that two blockbusters can open simultaneously and not cannibalize each other. In the best-case scenario, prepare for studios to no longer worry about stepping on each other’s toes when releasing blockbusters — a big win for both audiences and the theatrical business.
“Barbenheimer” dropped into cineplexes… and made quite a boom.
- The two films powered the fourth-biggest domestic weekend at the box office, with $311.1 million.
- It’s the first time two movies opened to more than $80 million each in the US simultaneously.
- And the movies fueled each other, not just as an online phenomenon, but also because 6% of Oppenheimer’s audience saw it after Barbie was sold out, according to The Quorum.
- Oh, and together, they accounted for $511 million in revenue worldwide — a massive haul.
So, how did Barbie and Oppenheimer blow away expectations? Tom Brueggemann of Indiewire points to audiences’ latent desire for originality in a sea of franchises, while Owen Gleiberman of Variety points to two visionary filmmakers having the freedom to craft stories that surprised us.
No matter the reason, the achievement comes at the worst time for the entertainment industry, which is in the throes of a double strike, is tinkering with pushing big theatrical releases to next year, and has the largest exhibitor in the country saying it may go bankrupt. In the words of Universal’s chief marketing officer, Michael Moses, “It’s the best of times, it’s the worst of times.”