Barbenheimer is here to stay as box office scores continue to soar...
Many routinely refer to cinema as a dying medium, and not many seem that optimistic with regards to the direction the industry is headed in.
Enter Barbenheimer, which legendary director Francis Ford Coppola has labelled as “a victory for cinema.”
“I have yet to see them (Barbie and Oppenheimer), but the fact that people are filling big theatres to see them and that they are neither sequels nor prequels, no number attached to them, meaning they are true one-off’s, is a victory for cinema.”
He’s not wrong.
A week after the release of Barbenheimer, the two films have held unusually strongly in theatres. Barbie took in a massive $93 million (approx. €84.4 million) in its second weekend, according to studio estimates on Sunday. Oppenheimer stayed in second with a robust $46.2 million (€41.9 million). Sales for the two movies dipped 43% and 44%, respectably — well shy of the usual week-two drops.
Barbenheimer has proven to be not a one-weekend phenomenon but an ongoing box-office bonanza. The two movies combined have already surpassed $1 billion (€908 million) in worldwide ticket sales.
Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for data firm Comscore, called it “a touchstone moment for movies, moviegoers and movie theatres.”
“Having two movies from rival studios linked in this way and both boosting each other's fortunes — both box-office wise and it terms of their profile — I don't know if there's a comp for this in the annals of box-office history," said Dergarabedian. “There's really no comparison for this.”
Following its year-best $162 million opening, the pink-infused pop sensation of Barbie saw remarkably sustained business through the week and into the weekend. The film outpaced Nolan's The Dark Knight to have the best first 11 days in theatres of any Warner Bros. release ever.
Barbie has rapidly accumulated $351.4 million in US and Canadian theatres, a rate that will soon make it the biggest box-office hit of the summer. Every day it’s played, Barbie has made at least $20 million.
And the Barbie effect isn't just in North America. The film made $122.2 million (€110.9 million) internationally over the weekend. Its global tally has reached $775 million (€704 million).
Even veteran studio executives are astounded.
“That's a crazy number,” said Jeff Goldstein, distribution chief for Warner Bros. “There's just a built-in audience that wants to be part of the zeitgeist of the moment. Wherever you go, people are wearing pink. Pink is taking over the world."
Amid the frenzy, Barbie is already attracting a lot of repeat moviegoers. Goldstein estimates that 12% of sales are people going back with friends or family to see it again.
For a movie industry that has been trying to regain its pre-pandemic footing — and that now finds itself largely shuttered due to actors and screenwriters strikes — the sensations of Barbie and Oppenheimer have showed what's possible when everything lines up just right.
“Post-pandemic, there's no ceiling and there's no floor," Goldstein said. "The movies that miss really miss big time, and the movies that work really work big time."
Universal Pictures' Oppenheimer, meanwhile, is performing more like a superhero movie than a three-hour film about scientists talking.
Nolan’s drama starring Cillian Murphy as atomic bomb physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer has accrued $174.1 million domestically thus far. With an additional $72.4 million in international cinemas, Oppenheimer has already surpassed $400 million (€363 million) globally.
Showings in IMAX have typically been sold out. Oppenheimer has made $80 million (€72.6 million) worldwide on IMAX. The large-format exhibitor said Sunday that it will extend the film's run through 13 August.
In the words of Ken: “So cool.”