“Barbenheimer” has captured the pop culture zeitgeist, as well Barbie AND Oppenheimer are set to deliver one of the biggest movie weekends since 2019.
To date, the biggest overall weekend at the box office since 2020 is Spider-Man: No Way HomeDebuting in December 2021, the domestic market grossed a total of $283 million. Before that, theaters posted a $263.9 million run Lion Kingopening at the end of July 2019.
Individually, both Barbie AND Oppenheimer can aim for important achievements. ABOUT Barbie, Greta Gerwig could secure the record for the biggest opening weekend for a film directed by a woman. The top three films in that category are now Captain Marvel ($153.4 million, co-directed by Anna Boden and Nia DaCosta along with Ryan Fleck), Frozen II ($130.3 million, co-directed by Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck), and Patty Jenkins Wonder Woman ($103.3 million).
Meanwhile, the best openings of Christopher Nolan’s career in the family outside The Dark Knight exclusivity are starting ($62.8 million) and Dunkirk ($50.5 million). Current opening weekend projections for Oppenheimer put the film right in that range.
Like both movies, especially Barbiecontinue to track long-distance expectations in their showdown against programming, here’s a rundown of what’s in play for the highly-anticipated weekend.
Warner Bros. Pictures
July 21, 2023 (WIDE)
Opening weekend range: $140-175 million
- Throughout its marketing campaign, Barbie has driven tremendous awareness and interest from women of all ages, an audience that has been largely underserved this summer — with the exception of Disney’s The Little Mermaid, a domestic box office hit that’s nearing $300 million in total thanks to healthy staying power amid little competition.
- Pre-sales have blown away all expectations in recent weeks as the “Barbenheimer” phenomenon has taken social media by storm. Independent sales figures reflect the meme’s popularity, with Barbie trend more than 200 percent ahead The Little MermaidThursday’s projections on actual admissions, when taking into account Wednesday’s “Barbie Blowout Party” showings in about 500 locations. Other bullish patterns have Barbie trending 29 percent ahead of recent Marvel movies Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 AND Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantum.
- Boxoffice ProParent company Boxoffice Company reports that the film has outsold all 2023 releases at the same point in the release cycle, making it their best-selling since Avatar: The Path of Water.
- Reviews have been overwhelmingly positive for director and co-writer Greta Gerwig’s adaptation of the Mattel toy line with a 90 percent Rotten Tomatoes score from 138 critics. If audience reception is comparable, Barbie could avoid a strong forward run.
- Although the film is getting scattered showtimes where possible (especially in Dolby Cinema), Barbie will be missing much of the typical premium screen footprint that accompanies most major studio releases due to Oppenheimer carrying IMAX exclusively as well as many screenings in other formats. This creates significant volatility in the floor and ceiling of forecasts. (Notably, Warner Bros. is cautiously waiting for $75 million Barbieopening it.)
- The reviews point to Barbie‘s appeal as a satirical comedy, which likely limited its target audience to younger and older moviegoers than the kid- and parent-friendly demographic it wooed. The movie Super Mario Bros earlier this year.
July 21, 2023 (WIDE)
Opening Weekend Range: $52M – $72M
- Christopher Nolan’s reputation as a pioneer of modern spectacle cinema driven by strong narratives with broad audience appeal is a major driving force behind his latest original film. Another factor driving admissions is Nolan’s loyal fan base, which has expanded since its release The Dark Knight trilogy and starting.
- Perhaps as a partial consequence of the “Barbenheimer” phenomenon, Oppenheimer pre-sales in sample regions have exceeded even optimistic expectations, with independent tracking sources placing the film at least 73 percent ahead of the pace of Dune and a little further John Wick: Chapter 4 when fit for Oppenheimerthe high demand of premium screen.
- Next to pre-sale trends, double screenings of movies are being planned by more than 200,000 moviegoers, according to a report from the National Association of Theater Owners. This may be working for adults OppenheimerIt is already a high profile among the youth segments Barbie audience that might not have turned out otherwise for Universal’s opening weekend release.
- OppenheimerIts initial wave of reviews are overwhelmingly positive, sitting at a fresh 95 percent from 98 critics. The film is widely considered an early awards season contender with strong adult appeal that could lead the box office through the rest of the summer.
- Given the prescreening demand adjustment, audiences seem to be favoring PLF for their viewing Oppenheimer. That could create more of a backlog in the grand scheme of things — which would be a positive development, even as it increases volatility and lowers the ceiling for opening weekend projections in case the growing sales outside the big cities don’t end up being as strong as is typical for other films.
- As a three-hour, R-rated film, the film may step outside some of Nolan’s audience’s wheelhouse and bypass the more metro-regional appeal.
Current projection range requires a 97% to 127% increase from last weekend’s total of $134.2 million.
|movie||Studio||3-day weekend forecast||Estimated domestic total as of Sunday, July 23||Friday Location Count Projection (from Wednesday)||3-day % change from last day|
|Barbie||Warner Bros. Pictures||158 500 000 dollars||158 500 000 dollars||~ 4200||NEW|
|Oppenheimer||Universal pictures||$64,700,000||$64,700,000||~ 3600||NEW|
|Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One||Paramount Pictures||25 800 000 dollars||$125,900,000||~ 4200||-53%|
|The Sound of Freedom||Angel Studios||21 100 000 dollars||126 000 000 dollars||~ 3100||-23%|
|Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny||Disney / Lucasfilm||$7,400,000||$159,800,000||~ 2700||-40%|
|BASIC||Walt Disney Pictures / Pixar||$6,800,000||$138,100,000||~ 2700||-25%|
|Undercover: The Red Door||Sony Pictures / Screen Gems||$6,500,000||71 600 000 dollars||~2500||-50%|
|Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse||Sony / Columbia Pictures||$3,700,000||376 000 000 dollars||~ 1900||-39%|
|Transformers: Rise of the Beasts||Paramount Pictures||1 500 000 dollars||$156,100,000||~900||-56%|
|There are no hard feelings||Sony / Columbia Pictures||$1,400,000||49 600 000 dollars||~1000||-57%|
|The Little Mermaid (2023)||Pictures of Walt Disney||~800|
All predictions are subject to revision/finalizationn before the first confirmation of opening previews or Friday ratings from studios or official sources.
Theater numbers are either studio estimates OR unofficial predictions if preceded by a “~”.
The table above does not necessarily represent the top ten as some studios do not finalize weekend location counts and/or intent to report box office returns prior to release.