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Box Office Breakdown: “Barbenheimer” Delivers Biggest Weekend Since Spider-Man: No Way Home (UPDATED)

This was always going to be a big weekend at the box office, but the concept of a “Barbenheimer” double feature ended up helping both new movies to far surpass any and all early tracking.

This Past Weekend

For months, some felt that opening Greta Gerwig‘s Barbie, starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, against Christopher Nolan‘s anticipated biopic, Oppenheimer, starring Cillian Murphy as Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer, would not be beneficial to either film. Instead, the concept of a “Barbenheimer” double feature was created – more by fans than the studios – despite the movies being quite different from each other. Even so, both movies received solid reviews – you can read Kim Voynar‘s take on Barbie here and Isaac Feldberg‘s Oppenheimer review here – and that subliminal marketing may have worked better than either Warner Bros. or Universal could have ever planned.

Warners released Gerwig’s third feature as a director into 4,234 theaters on Friday after Thursday (and a few Wednesday) previews that brought in $22.3 million. That led to (and was incorporated into) a $70.5 million a Friday take, not only the biggest opening day for the year but third only to the biggest days for Spider-Man: No Way Home and last year’s Doctor Strange into the Multiverse of Madness.

Barbie is estimated to have grossed $155 million for its opening weekend, allowing it to take the honor of being the biggest opening for the year, surpassing Universal’s The Super Mario Bros. Movie from earlier in the year. Even more interesting is the fact that Barbie is now the biggest opening weekend for a movie directed by a woman, surpassing 2019’s “Captain Marvel” and its $153.4 million as long as “Barbie’s” estimate holds up. (UPDATE: Warner Bros. now reports that “Barbie” has taken in $162 million based on actual box office, so its records stand.)

Internationally, “Barbie” added another $182 million and added into its domestic gross, the movie scored $337 million in its first three days. The United Kingdom had the best opening after the U.S. with $22.9 million, followed by Mexico with $22.3 million and Brazil with $15.9 million.

Nolan’s latest, which co-starred Robert Downey Jr, Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Florence Pugh, and many more mostly white male actors, was no slouch, making $33 million on Friday in 3,610 theaters, including the $10.5 million from Thursday previews. Universal reports an estimated domestic opening weekend of $80.5 million, which would make it Nolan’s biggest opening for a non-Batman movie, surpassing the $62.8 million opening for Nolan’s “Inception” in 2010. (UPDATE: Oppenheimer, too, was underestimated for the weekend, and Universal now reports that Nolan’s film actually made $82.4 million over the weekend, so both movies have done better than estimated.)

Internationally, “Oppenheimer” made $93.7 million in 78 markets, adding up to a $174.1 million global opening for the biopic, despite it feeling very much like an “American movie.” The UK and Ireland accounted for $14 million of that overseas take, followed by India with $7.1 million, France with $7 million, and Germany with $6.6 million. Australia was just behind that with $6.4 million for the weekend. (UPDATE: Oppenheimer‘s worldwide opening gross has also been updated to $180.4 million with $98 million in international box office and $35 million globally just from IMAX screens. Note that all the individual markets above were underreported, and they have been updated accordingly.)

Both “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” received “A” CinemaScores with the former doing better among women under 25 than men in general. This is also the first time in box office history where two movies were able to open with more than $80 million over the same weekend.

Angel StudiosSound of Freedom crossed the $100 million mark last week, and this weekend, it continued to hold well with another $20.1 million, down 26 percent from last weekend, bringing its domestic total to $124.8 million. It looks like Angel Studios’ “pay it forward” ticket strategy is paying off and not being affected at all by the overwhelming presence of “Barbenheimer.”

Sound of Freedom also managed to stay ahead of Tom Cruise and Christopher McQuarrie‘s Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One, as it has through most of the past week. Dead Reckoning took a 64 percent hit, dropping to fourth place with an estimated $19.5 million, having only grossed $118.8 million domestically so far. We’ll have to see how it fares over the rest of the summer against so many new entries, since either way, that Part Two is still being worked on for a summer 2024 release.

Fifth place went to Disney’s Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, which held up better against “Barbenheimer,” than Sony‘s own franchise fifth, Insidious: The Red Door, the former dropping 46 percent for a fourth weekend of $6.7 million and $159 million. (That is a terrible four-week showing for a movie that should have been the biggest release of the summer.) The Insidious sequel has become the second-highest grosser for that franchise with $71 million, adding an estimated $6.5 million (down 50 percent) this weekend.

Disney-Pixar’s Elemental dropped to seventh place with $5.8 million, down 36 percent, to bring its domestic total to $137.2 million. It added another $18.3 million overseas, for an international total of $219.4 million and $356.6 million worldwide.

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse took eighth place with another $2.8 million in 1,669 locations, with $375.2 million grossed domestically. It’s not looking likely to hit $400 million, but we’ll have to see if it’s able to hold off Barbie to remain the highest-grossing movie of the summer.

Ahead of its nationwide expansion on Friday, Searchlight Studios‘ comedy, Theater Camp, picked up at Sundance for $8 million, made another $266,000 in 51 theaters, bringing its total to $672,000. It has a ways to go before justifying that price tag.

Weekend Box Office

Rank Entry Distributor Revenue Theater Count Total Revenue
1 Barbie Warner Bros. $162,022,044 4,243 $162,022,044
2 Oppenheimer Universal $82,455,420 3,610 $82,455,420
3 Sound of Freedom Angel Studios $19,825,575 3,285 $124,433,512
4 Mission: Impossible Dead Reckoning Part One Paramount Pictures $19,354,511 4,321 $118,607,980
5 Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny Walt Disney $6,678,501 2,885 $158,997,363
6 Insidious: The Red Door Sony Pictures $6,635,210 2,554 $71,136,883
7 Elemental Walt Disney $5,723,492 2,720 $137,157,319
8 Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse Sony Pictures $2,883,624 1,669 $375,277,893
9 Transformers: Rise of the Beasts Paramount Pictures $1,141,806 834 $155,664,410
10 No Hard Feelings Sony Pictures $1,085,018 1,017 $49,220,711


Last Year

A scene from Nope / Universal

One year ago this weekend, Universal released Jordan Peele‘s third film, Nope, complete with an IMAX trailer for Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer, and it grossed $44.4 million in 3,785 theaters (or $11,722 per theater). It was a lower opening than Peele’s Us, which opened with $71.1 million in March 2019.

Thor: Love and Thunder took second place with $22.5 million, down 52 percent, with $276.7 million grossed so far, followed in third place with Minions: The Rise of Gru with $18 million (down 33 percent), and that was close to grossing $300 million.

Where the Crawdads Sing took fourth place with $10.4 million (down 40 percent) followed closely by Top Gun: Maverick with $10.3 million (down 17 percent).

Upcoming 

Haunted Mansion
(L-R) Rosario Dawson, Tiffany Haddish, Lakeith Stanfield, Owen Wilson in Haunted Mansion / Disney

After such a huge weekend, it’s going to be hard for anything opening this weekend to make much of a dent, bad news for Disney‘s The Haunted Mansion, directed by Justin Simien (Dear White People), making his major studio directorial debut with his widest theatrical release. Disney is releasing it into over 3,500 theaters and normally, a movie like this would be huge, since it’s based on a very popular ride at Disney World and Disneyland.

Simien has also assembled a fantastic cast led by Oscar nominee LaKeith Stanfield and Rosario Dawson with Owen Wilson, Oscar winners Jamie Lee Curtis and Jared Leto, Tiffany Haddish, Danny DeVito, as well as Winona Ryder and Dan Levy from Schitt’s Creek. That amazing cast would be even more beneficial if any of them were allowed to go on talk shows to promote the movie, but late night shows have been dark since May due to the WGA strike, and actors can’t promote on morning shows due to the SAG-Aftra strike. Waugh waugh.

Clearly, Disney had been looking at Haunted Mansion as another potential Pirates of the Caribbean franchise launcher, because that movie was released in July twenty years ago to $46.6 million. That was WAY more than anyone expected, especially considering it opened on Wednesday, making $70.6 million in its first days. The first Pirates movie ended up grossing $305 million in North America and double that globally, leading to a franchise that has grossed $4.5 billion worldwide. The second and fourth movies grossed a billion worldwide, and though the most recent movie in 2017 faltered, it still grossed $794 million.

There are a couple things keeping Haunted Mansion from doing nearly as well, despite being based on a far more popular ride, one being that “Barbenheimer” juggernaut, but in terms of worldwide box office, it just doesn’t have a cast that could do well with global audiences, no matter how you slice it.

We won’t see reviews until sometime in the middle of the week – I wouldn’t expect much there – but Haunted Mansion should be good for somewhere in the lower to mid-$30 millions, which means it’s fighting it out with Oppenheimer for second place, since there’s no way it can keep Barbie from pulling a repeat, even if that has a sharp drop.

Speaking of which, I do expect Barbie to have a 60%+ drop next weekend, not because it’s bad or because audiences didn’t like it, but because so many rushed out to see it on opening weekend, same as Oppenheimer, which I expect to also drop 55% or so to fight for (but likely winning) second place.

Sophie Wilde in Talk to Me / A24

Horror fans who have generally been neglected since The Boogeyman – and might not think of Haunted Mansion as horror persé – can look forward to Talk to Me, the directorial debut by Australian filmmakers Danny and Michael Philippou, best known for their viral “Racka Racka” YouTube channel. Talk to Me stars Australian actor Sophie Wilde as a young woman whose mother died under mysterious circumstances, but she allows herself to take part in a séance-like

As has become the norm, A24 has not released advance theater counts, so it’s hard to tell how the movie might do against “Barbenheimer,” but an Australian horror movie – even one well regarded since playing at Sundance – with a mostly unknown cast (Miranda Otto is also in it), it just seems like it might be a tougher sell in the States. A24 has done well with horror in recent years, but I expect this one to not open with more than $9 million, again, very much depending on theater count. (Make sure to read my interview with the Philippou’s right here on Above the Line later this week.)

In fact, there are a few other movies being released or expanding wide but with no reported theater counts, so they could be in anywhere between 500 theaters and 1,500 theaters.

The First Slam Dunk is being released by GKIDS into an unknown number of theaters nationwide, the animated film having been a blockbuster hit in Japan already. It’s directed by Takehiko Inoue from his own sports manga, which originated almost thirty years ago and probably has a good amount of American fans, so it could theoretically break into the bottom of the top 10 with $3 million. It all depends on that elusive theater count.

Also expanding nationwide is Searchlight Studios’ Theater Camp from filmmakers Molly Gordon and Nick Lieberman, starring Gordon with Ben Platt, Noah Galvin, and Ayo Edebiri (from The Bear). This is another well-regarded movie from Sundance that was bought for a whopping $8 million, and it’s done fairly well in platform release, but it’s also one that will mostly do well in bigger cities where musicals are popular. Expect it to make somewhere in the $2 to 3 million tops, which may or may not be enough to get into the top 10. (UPDATE: It looks like Searchlight is going for a slower roll-out for Theater Camp, and it’s likely to only be in 300 or so theaters this coming Friday.)


Edward Douglas
Edward Douglas

Edward Douglas has been writing about the box office for 21 years at places like ComingSoon.netThe Tracking Board, and many others, but mostly under the banner of “The Weekend Warrior.” He’s also a film critic with bylines at Film JournalThe New York Daily NewsDen of Geek, and more.

Box Office Breakdown will be posted each week by Monday morning. You can read other features by Edward Douglas over at Below the Line and Above the Line.

Edward Douglas
Edward Douglas
Edward Douglas has written about movies for print and the internet for over 20 years, specializing in box office analysis, reviews, and interviews. Currently, he writes features for Below the Line and Above the Line, acting as Associate Editor for the former and Interim Editor for the latter.
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