Barbie and Oppenheimer’s first complete week at the box office garners a domestic total that’s only been paralleled four times.
The collective force of Barbie and Oppenheimer, referred to as Barbenheimer, has achieved a tremendous milestone during their initial box office week. Barbie, directed by Greta Gerwig and starring Margot Robbie as the iconic doll, hit a massive $162 million opening weekend total at the domestic box office. The Christopher Nolan-directed Oppenheimer, with Cillian Murphy starring as J. Robert Oppenheimer, the man behind the atomic bomb, also marked a spectacular achievement with a domestic opening earning of $82.4 million.
The Hollywood Reporter reveals that the Barbenheimer box office has contributed to a massive $500 million total domestic gross for the week of July 21 through July 27. Comscore’s principal box office analyst, Paul Dergarabedian, equated this to achieving “a no-hitter in baseball”. This type of weekly revenue has occurred “only four times previously in the box office history” and never in July. See Dergarabedian’s full remark below:
“Like a perfect game in bowling or a no-hitter in baseball, a $500 million domestic week at the box office is elusive commodity happening only four times prior in box office history and only once outside of mid- to late-December. And it has never happened in July until now. It is incredible achievement owed in large part to the Barbenheimer craze that boosted the fortunes of the entire theatrical marketplace.“
Why Did Barbie and Oppenheimer Perform So Well at the Box Office?
Barbie and Oppenheimer, although starkly contrasting in mood and visual aesthetic, would likely have achieved success independently. Guided by Oscar-nominated directors and boasting star-studded ensemble casts, they’ve earned impressive ratings. Both have received Certified Fresh status on Rotten Tomatoes, with Barbie notching up an 89 percent score and Oppenheimer slightly ahead at 94 percent.
However, launching both films on the same weekend sparked an unplanned viral marketing buzz, eclipsing even the widespread viral appeal of M3GAN from earlier in the year. In an uncertain period of box office resurgence after the initial COVID-19 pandemic-related theatre shutdowns, it’s become uncommon for two massive blockbusters to debut concurrently. This unique circumstance, coupled with the polar oppositeness of the movies, stimulated a wave of creative mashup memes, marking the emergence of ‘Barbenheimer weekend’
These popular memes played a pivotal role in skyrocketing the awareness around the release date of Barbie and Oppenheimer. They also persuaded many moviegoers to attend double features, rather than choosing one film and delaying the viewing of the other until the next weekend. This mutual promotion resulted in an incredibly profitable outcome for both films.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter