'Barbie' Smashes Box Office Records With Staggering Debut
Warner Bros. Pictures

The Greta Gerwig-directed movie lands the biggest debut of 2023, surpassing 'The Super Mario Bros. Movie', and becoming the biggest debut ever for a film directed by a woman.

AceShowbiz - "Barbie" has proven that it's all worth the hype. The Universal Pictures film has smashed a number of box office records with its staggering debut of approximately $155 million domestically, greatly exceeding expectations of $90 million to $110 million.

The historic number, which is usually reserved for male-driven superhero film or big franchise, marks the biggest debut of the year. It surpassed "The Super Mario Bros. Movie" which opened to $146.3 million earlier this month.

In North America, the Greta Gerwig-directed film also becomes the biggest debut 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. Meanwhile, Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck's "Captain Marvel" previously held the record when it opened to $153 million in 2019.

The Margot Robbie-starring flick also sets 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-D.C. pic or a sequel.

Internationally, "Barbie" also attracted large audiences as 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.

Entering the weekend, "Barbie" arrived together with "Oppenheimer", but the two seemingly different auter-driven blockbusters have since complemented each other as audiences refused to choose between the two and opted to attend same-day viewings of both films. The Christopher Nolan-directed biopic also came in well ahead of expectations with approximately $80.5 million.

"This is an unequivocally great weekend for moviegoing," says David A. Gross, who runs the movie consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research. " 'Barbie' and 'Oppenheimer' are complementing each other at the box office, not taking audience from each other."

Michael O'Leary, president and CEO of the National Association of Theatre Owners, the industry's trade organization, hails the films for fueling the biggest collective box office weekend of the pandemic era as well as the fourth-biggest overall weekend in history. He says, "Studios gave audiences two uniquely different, smart and original stories that were meant for the big screen. People recognized that something special was happening, and they wanted to be a part of it."

Cinemark chief marketing and content officer Wanda Gierhart Fearing also weighs in, "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."

"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," he adds. "Congratulations to our studio partners, as well as the entire creative community for delivering films that generate these record-breaking results."

The massive successes of the two new releases push "Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One" to the fourth place. It's down a steep 64 percent to an estimated $19.5 million for a domestic total of $118.8 million.

"Sound of Freedom" also loses two spots to No. 4 with an estimated $20.1 million, while "Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny" stumbles 4-5 with approximately $6.7 million.

Top 10 of North America Box Office (July 21-23, 2023):

  1. "Barbie" - $155 million
  2. "Oppenheimer" - $80.5 million
  3. "Sound of Freedom" - $20.1 million
  4. "Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One" - $19.5 million
  5. "Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny" - $6.7 million
  6. "Insidious: The Red Door" - $6.5 million
  7. "Elemental" - $5.8 million
  8. "Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse" - $2.8 million
  9. "Transformers: Rise of the Beasts" - $1.1 million
  10. "No Hard Feelings" - $1.07 million

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