- By Faarea Masoud
- business reporter
The Barbie movie has become the biggest movie of the year in the United States and Canada so far, distributor Warner Bros. said.
An estimate of $155m (£120m) was made in its opening weekend, the company said.
Meanwhile, Oppenheimer’s new release, also set to open on Friday, has grossed $93.7 million (£72 million) in the United States, Universal Pictures said.
The features come at a time when theaters in general are struggling as they lose out on streaming competition.
Oppenheimer’s plot focuses on the development of the first atomic bomb, starring Cillian Murphy and directed by Christopher Nolan.
Meanwhile, Barbie, which was directed by Greta Gerwig, tells the children’s character’s coming-of-age story where she explores her identity and encourages her boyfriend Ken to establish individuality.
The two films were released on Friday and the competition between the two was dubbed on social media as “Barbenheimer.”
The opening weekend of Barbie, starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, has seen ticket sales surpass that of the opening weekend of the blockbuster Super Mario Bros, making Barbie the biggest movie of 2023 so far.
Worldwide, Barbie’s debut grossed $337 million (£293 million) worldwide.
In Twitter, one user said that she hadn’t wanted to go to the cinema to see a movie in years, but Barbie had made it. She said that it would “remain a timeless masterpiece through the years – the ideas really are forever.”
Ahead of the films’ release, Odeon in the UK said more than 200,000 advance tickets had been bought and around 10,000 viewers were expected to see the Barbie and Oppenheimer films over the opening weekend.
Meanwhile, Vue Cinema in the UK reported on Friday that pre-sale purchases for Barbie were “higher than any other blockbuster released this year.” Friday’s admissions were the highest for any Friday since the pandemic, and the third-biggest Friday in the network’s history.
Universal Pictures said Oppenheimer had earned £8.05 million in the UK and Ireland since Friday.
He added that Oppenheimer is forecast to have a better three-day opening than Christopher Nolan’s other blockbusters: the space-themed Interstellar, the war thriller Dunkirk and the sci-fi hit Inception.
In early July, the stars left the premiere of Oppenheimer early by strike action for complaints that include the invasion of artificial intelligence in the making and writing of Hollywood movies.
The film grossed $93.7 million (£75 million) in international markets, bringing its global total to $174.2 million (£135 million), Universal Pictures said.