The weekend box office results are in, and while the themes and direction of travel match what we reported over the weekend, the scales have changed and the results are pretty staggering in all directions. The Barbenheimer phenomenon led to Greta Gerwig’s Barbie and Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer exceeding all expectations.

By the end of Sunday, Barbie was up to $162 million domestically and $194.3 million overseas. $356 million in total. This is the highest-ever opening weekend for a female-directed movie.

By the time you add in Oppenheimer, which came in with $82.4 million domestic and $98 million overseas for a worldwide total of $180 million, then you are looking at a bumper weekend. How big? The fourth-biggest weekend in history with over $300 million domestically, behind only the launch weekends of the third and fourth Avengers films and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.



Barbenheimer producers, right now.


Phew! After all the doom and gloom then cinema is saved? Not quite. One swallow does not make a summer. It all comes down to the legs these movies show and what their week-by-week drops play out like. Outposters are already carrying out on-the-ground intel gathering and are showing Barbie holding firm for week #2 in terms of available seating at their local theaters.

These movies are against the backdrop of a massively disappointing summer elsewhere. That bad news trend continued outside the top two movies, where last week’s champion Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One collapsed by 64%. It earned just $19.5 million dollars at the domestic box office and became the highest 2nd-week dropper of the entire franchise.

Big hopes had been pinned on Tom Cruise after Top Gun: Maverick arguably saved last summer in theaters with $718,732,821 at the domestic box office alone. That means these box office numbers for Mission: Impossible aren’t just disappointing, they are pretty catastrophic against the backdrop of the myriad of issues now facing moviemaking in general. In that context, you can see how it is going to take more than one marketing phenomenon to course correct this.

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