Early Weekend Estimates: BARBIE ($155M+) and Nolan’s OPPENHEIMER ($75M+) Drive Historic Weekend as ‘Barbenheimer’ Craze Takes Over Cinemas

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Saturday Update: Barbenheimer is in full effect.

As expected, Warner Bros. and Greta Gerwig’s Barbie claimed the top spot at the domestic box office on Friday with $70.5 million for its total opening day. Universal and Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer registered a historic second place showing with $33 million.

Barbie‘s figure includes $22.3 million from Wednesday and Thursday previews, while Oppenheimer‘s opening day includes $10.5 million from Thursday evening shows. Those figures were previously reported in the update below.

While the weekend remains somewhat tricky to project due to the enormous impact of the Barbenheimer craze, it stands to reason that both films will finish out the weekend on the high end of final forecasts.

Barbie‘s opening day is the best of 2023 and surpasses a comparable tentpole like Captain Marvel‘s $61.7 million by 14 percent. The audience breakdown includes 65 percent women and 60 percent over the age of 25, according to the studio.

Oppenheimer, meanwhile, marks a new career best for Christopher Nolan outside of the The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises. The biopic’s first day registered 52 percent above Inception‘s opening day ($21.8 million) and 67 percent ahead of Dunkirk ($19.7 million). It’s also the top R-rated opening day since Joker‘s $39.35 million in October 2019, surpassing John Wick: Chapter 4‘s $29.4 million by 12 percent.

For the weekend, Barbie looks to be on course for $165 million, according to industry estimates outside of Warner Bros. Independent expectations continue to indicate potential to reach $170 million or more. Nolan’s Oppenheimer is on course for $77 million according to Universal’s own estimates, with other projections pointing to a possible $80 million.

For the latter, all estimates are enough to make it the filmmaker’s top opening outside the aforementioned Dark Knight sequels, as well as the third highest-debut by a biographical film outside of American Sniper ($89.3 million) and The Passion of the Christ ($83.85 million).

Universal reports IMAX is generating 27 percent of Oppenheimer‘s domestic gross so far, and all premium screens combined represent 49 percent. Sales for both films are robust throughout the weekend with demand continuing to be fueled by the pop culture phenomenon these simultaneous releases have created.

Internationally, Oppenheimer is estimated by the studio to debut with $165.9 million through Sunday. Again, that’s a new best for Nolan outside Dark Knight films and tops Bohemian Rhapsody‘s $124 million as the best global start in history for a biographical drama.

Warner Bros. has not directly updated Barbie‘s international results, though multiple industry sources are estimating over $300 million for its worldwide weekend total.

Back on the domestic front, Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One slid to third place with $5.56 million on Friday. Its ten-day domestic haul is $104.8 million, 16 percent off the pace of 2018’s Fallout as the strongly received Tom Cruise sequel has been hit by significant competition and a loss of most premium screen showtimes in the wake of Oppenheimer and Barbie.

The Paramount release will need strong weekend holds to reach $20 million in its second frame.

In fourth place, Angel Studios’ Sound of Freedom continues to withstand all newcomers as it declined just 28 percent from last Friday to $5.7 million yesterday. With an 18-day haul of $110.3 million, the sleeper indie hit is eyeing a third frame in the upper-teen millions, if not over $20 million.

More updates to follow on Sunday.

Friday Update: Warner Bros. reports this morning that Barbie has earned $22.3 million from domestic previews, a number that included traditional Thursday previews (beginning at 3pm) and 500 locations that hosted “Barbie Blowout Parties” on Wednesday.

In tandem, Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer bowed to $10.5 million from Thursday previews beginning at 5pm.

Breaking it down, the “Barbenheimer” hype train is driving audiences to cinemas in droves for both films. Barbie‘s start marks the best preview gross since Black Panther: Wakanda Forever ($28 million) last November, while Oppenheimer‘s early result is the best for an R-rated film since Joker ($13.3 million) and It: Chapter Two ($10.5 million) in late 2019.

Here’s how each film stacks up to comparable preview results.


  • 28 percent ahead of Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse ($17.4 million)
  • 117 percent ahead of The Little Mermaid ($10.3 million)
  • 27 percent ahead of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania ($17.5 million each)
  • 8 percent ahead of Captain Marvel ($20.7 million)
  • 103 percent ahead of Wonder Woman ($11 million)
  • 37 percent ahead of Beauty and the Beast ($16.3 million)


  • 50 percent ahead of Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One ($7 million)
  • 46 percent ahead of Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny ($7.2 million)
  • 18 percent ahead of John Wick: Chapter 4 ($8.9 million)
  • 64 percent ahead of Nope ($6.4 million)
  • 106 percent ahead of Dune ($5.1 million)
  • 91 percent ahead of Dunkirk ($5.5 million)

As for weekend trajectories, these two films hitting theaters over the same weekend will continue to skew all pinpoint projections. With that in mind, these previews results are on the upper end of expectations baked into final forecasts and ranges.

More updates to follow throughout the weekend.

© Universal Pictures. All Rights Reserved.; © 2022 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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