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Barbie and Oppenheimer’s box office weekends were both massive winners

Thank God for double features

A still from the Barbie movie that shows Barbie taking a mugshot. Barbie is played by Margot Robbie and she looks distressed as she holds up a sign that says Barbie LAPD Venice. Image: Warner Bros.
Austen Goslin (he/him) is an entertainment editor. He writes about the latest TV shows and movies, and particularly loves all things horror.

After months of memes and excitement, the simultaneous release of Barbie and Oppenheimer in theaters has finally arrived. And both movies are already out to a great start. Barbie raked in an impressive $162 million during its opening weekend, making it the biggest opening of the year so far, while Oppenheimer’s theatrical run started with $82 million in its first three days.

The movies’ great performance started on Thursday night, when both films put up massive preview screening numbers. Barbie made $22.3 million in previews, which places it among blockbuster fare including Captain Marvel — which, it should be noted, is a pre-pandemic movie, meaning that it came out in a somewhat healthier box office environment. Meanwhile, Oppenheimer came in with much less than Barbie, but $10.5 million is impressive for an R-rated drama, particularly one that’s three hours long.

J. Robert Oppenheimer, in hat, hands on hips, stands with his back to the camera and considers the tower at the atomic bomb test site before a huge, cloudy desert sky in the film Oppenheimer Image: Universal Pictures

Combined, the two movies helped push the weekend’s domestic box office total north of $300 million, something that’s only happened four previous times, with the last being the weekend of Spider-Man: No Way Home’s release in 2021. The two films also mark the first time that one movie has opened to over $100 million at the domestic box office while a second film opened to more than $50 million — two totals that both movies blew past.

Barbie and Oppenheimer also fared well overseas. Global totals for Barbie and Oppenheimer stretched all the way to $511 million.

The Barbie-versus-Oppenheimer debate started out as a fierce rivalry when the release date for both films was announced. As the movies got closer, however, the conversation started to shift into realizing that the movies made for a beautiful pairing. Now that they’re both in theaters, it seems that the spirit of cooperation continues. According to the latest numbers from AMC Theatres, over 40,000 people had advance tickets to see both movies as a double feature, and that number is sure to have grown since both were released.

Beyond their initial success, both Barbie and Oppenheimer had excellent second weekends, too. Barbie pulled in $93 million in the U.S., making it one of the best second weekends ever. The few movies with better second weekends are some of the highest-grossing movies of all time, like Star Wars: The Force Awakens, The Avengers (the original, Endgame, and Infinity War), Black Panther, and Jurassic World.

Oppenheimer enjoyed a similar, if slightly less successful, second weekend, drawing in $46.6 million. It’s the first R-rated movie ever to earn more than $10 million for 10 days straight, according to Universal.

Barbie is also closing in on the coveted billion-dollar mark worldwide at $774 million, making it already the third-largest movie of the year so far after just these first two weekends, with only Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and The Super Mario Bros. Movie ahead of it. Oppenheimer’s global total is similarly impressive at $400 million, eclipsing Nolan’s previous movie, Tenet, which only earned $365 million, though it was released in 2020 when many theaters were still closed around the world.

Both movies will look to sustain their impressive early numbers into the next few weeks and months. Oppenheimer in particular already seems to be doing this well, with showings of its special 70mm IMAX format sold out all the way into mid-August at some theaters.

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