(New York) The summer blockbuster Barbie, preceded by an intense marketing campaign, achieved the best launch of the year 2023 at the North American box office, with 155 million dollars in revenue during a successful weekend also marked by the release of Oppenheimer (80.5 million), announced Sunday the specialized firm Comscore.
The two highly anticipated films should allow cinemas in the United States and Canada to total their best weekend receipts since the COVID-19 pandemic, which dealt a severe blow to cinemas, according to specialized sites The Hollywood Reporter and Deadline.
Helped by a pink marketing wave from the toy group Mattel, which launched the first Barbie doll in 1959, and Warner Bros, production partners, Greta Gerwig’s comedy is doing better for its launch than Super Mario, inspired by the famous video game character (146 million at the start of April), or than the sequel to James Cameron’s Avatar (Avatar: The Way of Water, 134 million in December 2022).
In a pop and ironic retelling, where dripping pink and sequins are to be taken at face value, Barbie, played by Margot Robbie — Ryan Gosling plays Ken — is asked to swap her heels for Birkenstock sandals to leave her perfect world of Barbie Land and dive into the real world.
According to specialized sites, it is the best launch in North American theaters for a film directed by a woman, ahead of Wonder Woman by Patty Jenkins (2017) and Captain Marvel, co-directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck (2019).
Oppenheimer, Christopher Nolan’s biopic about the American physicist who developed the atomic bomb, is also making a strong debut for a 3-hour movie, grossing 80.5 million, according to Comscore.
The simultaneous release of these two highly anticipated films with opposing stories in the middle of summer created a stir among moviegoers, and the “Barbenheimer” phenomenon took hold of social networks. According to the National Association of Theater Owners in the United States, more than 200,000 moviegoers planned to see both films on the same day over the weekend.
Controversial child trafficking thriller Sound of Freedom rounded out the podium with $20 million, followed by Mission: Impossible Dead Reckoning ($19.5 million) and Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny ($6.7 million).