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    ‘Barbie’ Box Office Towers Over ‘Oppenheimer’ With Record Opening – The Hollywood Reporter

    The summer box office just went nuclear.

    Filmmaker Greta Gerwig’s female-fueled Barbie started off with a stupendous $70.5 million on Friday, including $22.3 million in previews. If early modeling is correct, the Warner Bros. movie is headed for a historic $155 million-plus opening domestically, a threshold usually reserved for male-driven superhero fare or marquee IP such as the final Harry Potter movie. (Some show the movie even crossing $160 million, although Warner Bros. is remaining more circumspect and sticking with $150 million-plus in case Saturday traffic tails off.)

    Barbie — which brings to life Mattel’s iconic fashion doll — is also strutting to big numbers in certain overseas markets for a projected international debut as high as $120 million.

    In North America, Barbie is all but assured of scoring the biggest domestic start ever for a movie directed by a woman solo — that crown is currently held by Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman, which started off with $103.3 million domestically in 2017 — and should set a number of other records, including landing the top opening of 2023 to date ahead of The Super Mario Bros. Movie ($146.3 million). The next closest 2023 launch belonged to Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse ($120.7 million), followed by Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 ($118.4 million) and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania ($106.9 million). Otherwise, many releases haven’t been able to inch past the $100 million mark.

    Gerwig’s film is towering over Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer, the weekend’s other new wide release.

    Not that Oppenheimer, from Universal, is any slouch. The three-hour historical drama about J. Robert Oppenheimer and the making of the atomic bomb is likewise coming in well ahead of expectations. Nolan’s movie earned $33 million on Friday for a projected $77 million weekend, which would mark the filmmaker’s third-biggest domestic debut behind The Dark Knight Rises ($160.9 million) and The Dark Knight ($158.4 million), not adjusted for inflation. It also will come in ahead of recent summer pics including The Flash, Elemental and Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.

    Barbie is skewing heavily female, or 68 percent, while Oppenheimer is male-dominated (64 percent).

    Other stats: at $77 million, Oppenheimer would rank as the third-biggest opening ever for a biographical film in North America behind American Sniper ($89.3 million) and The Passion of the Christ ($83.8 million), not adjusted for inflation.

    Overseas, Oppenheimer is headed for a strong $88.9 million opening.

    Heading into the weekend, tracking suggested Nolan’s film would start off with a solid $50 million domestically; Gerwig’s Barbie was expected to hit between $90 million and $110 million, already a huge sum for a female-skewing film.

    The one-two punch of Barbie and Oppenheimer — a phenomenon dubbed “Barbenheimer” — was on full display by Friday in a needed boost for moviegoing and the box office, which has yet to recover fully from the pandemic. This will be the first three-day weekend in history when one movie earns $100 million or more and another $50 million or more.

    Revenue-wise, this could be the fourth-biggest weekend of all time and likely the biggest since Avengers: Endgame, according to Comscore, with combined ticket sales approaching $306 million in a rare feat. The sizzling box office is a welcome respite from the ongoing writers and actors strike, which has brought Hollywood to a standstill and sparked worry among theaters owners that studios will begin moving their fall and winter releases if actors can’t promote their films.

    Both Barbie and Oppenheimer were graced with A CinemaScores by Friday audiences in the U.S. And their critics’ scores on Rotten Tomatoes store aren’t far apart; 90 percent versus 93 percent, respectively.

    According to a survey conducted by the National Association of Theater Owners of their members, 200,000 patrons in the U.S. have bought tickets to book a double feature and see both Barbie and Oppenheimer (it isn’t clear how many of those customers belong to loyalty clubs and hence get a certain amount of tickets at a reduced cost or for free).

    Barbenheimer isn’t making life easy for Tom Cruise starrer Mission: Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part One, which posted a five-day debut of $78.5 million after launching in U.S. theaters on July 12. Early estimates show the film dropping more than 55 percent to $20 million-$21 million in its second outing despite even better reviews than Barbie and Oppenheimer. Right now, it is in a close race with Sound of Freedom for third place.

    Paramount’s seventh Mission: Impossible film has to contend with losing Imax screens to Oppenheimer, in addition to losing other premium large format screens to either Oppenheimer or Barbie. The upcharge for Imax and PLFs is significant, and can have a big impact on the bottom line.

    Angel Studios’ independent sleeper hit Sound of Freedom is expected to enjoy another strong weekend, and could likewise earn $20 million or more in its third weekend after crossing the $100 million mark domestically last weekend against a production budget of $14 million-$15 million.

    Billed as a political thriller, the faith-based movie stars The Passion of the Christ’s Jim Caviezel as the real-life Tim Ballard, who worked as an agent for the Department of Homeland Security before embarking on his own quest to bring child traffickers to justice. While the conservative-leaning Sound of Freedom has been discussed on QAnon message boards, Angel says it isn’t a QAnon movie. In late 2021, Caviezel spoke at a QAnon convention in Las Vegas, where he invoked the QAnon slogan, “The storm is upon us.”

    Box office estimates will be updated Sunday.

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