Long Range Box Office Forecast: BARBIE and OPPENHEIMER

Photos courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures; Melinda Sue Gordon/Universal Pictures

One of the most hotly debated head-to-head box office match-ups of the year is just four weeks away. While much could change over the next month, here’s how Greta Gerwig’s Barbie and Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer are shaping up in preliminary tracking.


Warner Bros. Pictures

July 21, 2023 (WIDE)

Opening Weekend Range: $55M-$85M

Domestic Total Range: $120M-$226M


  • Barbie has been a remarkable performer across the social media spectrum thanks to a vocal fan base and meme-driven activity across TikTok, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and other platforms.
  • As a generational brand, Barbie has strong appeal to women of various ages and should benefit from the voice of director and co-writer Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird, Little Women) and the presence of A-Listers Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling as the leads.
  • Outside of The Little Mermaid, very few of this summer’s tentpole films are catering so directly to women, leaving Barbie positioned for a strong performance courting an under-served audience. Early sales reflect this with, with Barbie’s day-one pre-sales coming in 46 percent higher than Mermaid‘s comparable period.


  • It’s challenging at this stage to determine to what extent online and fandom buzz will translate to real world interest. That’s especially true given the film’s seemingly more mature focus; its satirical comedy bent could put a ceiling on family turnout relative to the broader multi-generational appeal of The Super Mario Bros. Movie.
  • Premium screen footprints will be very low for Barbie, with other films dominating that space throughout July. That not only lowers Barbie‘s potential average ticket prices, but—as audiences increasingly favor a premium viewing experience—could have a negative impact on attendance.
  • While early pre-sales are strong for previews on Wednesday and Thursday, it remains to be seen whether or not the film will be able to gain traction outside the die-hard fan base in the weeks ahead.


Universal Pictures

July 21, 2023 (WIDE)

Opening Weekend Range: $40M-$55M

Domestic Total Range: $137M-$187M


  • Director Christopher Nolan himself is a reliable box office draw, as shown in the post-Dark Knight era of his career with the success of Dunkirk, Interstellar, and Inception.
  • Counter-programming potential is strong, with Oppenheimer being one of the few thrillers aimed squarely at adults to receiving a massive marketing push in this day and age.
  • There’s minimal direct competition moving into the late summer, with most of the wide releases coming to theaters in Oppenheimer‘s first few holdover frames being family-friendly movies.
  • Pre-sales are popping at this stage, with initial models pointing to preview results ahead of last summer’s Nope and Nolan’s own Dunkirk. General moviegoer interest prompted by strong word of mouth from preview audiences could create long-term backloading weeks into the film’s theatrical run—particularly as many seek out IMAX and other PLFs for this particular film.


  • Oppenheimer‘s three-hour runtime puts even more emphasis on word of mouth—especially given the fact that, while containing a spectacle component, it looks to be Nolan’s most strictly narrative-driven film since The Prestige in 2006.
  • Men over the age of 25 will be the primary crowd here, and that’s a source of crossover competition with Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One, opening one week earlier.
  • Nolan’s Tenet, released under abnormal pandemic-era circumstances, was one of the more divisive films of his career, earning a 76 percent audience score on Rotten Tomatoes.

Long Range Box Office Forecast & 2023’s Upcoming Calendar
(as of 6/23/23)

Release Date Title 3-Day (FSS) Opening Low/High Range Pinpoint % Chg from Last Week Domestic Total Low/High Range Pinpoint % Chg from Last Week Distributor
6/30/2023 Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny $68,000,000 – $95,000,000 -9% $211,000,000 – $325,000,000   Disney / Lucasfilm
6/30/2023 Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken $12,000,000 – $17,000,000 -10% $35,000,000 – $62,000,000 -10% Universal / DreamWorks Animation
7/7/2023 Insidious: The Red Door $24,000,000 – $29,000,000 -7% $54,000,000 – $66,000,000 -7% Sony Pictures / Screen Gems
7/7/2023 Joy Ride $11,000,000 – $16,000,000 -10% $35,000,000 – $60,000,000 -10% Lionsgate
7/12/2023 Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One $65,000,000 – $80,000,000   $250,000,000 – $320,000,000   Paramount Pictures
7/14/2023 PSYCHO-PASS: Providence (Limited)         Sony / Crunchyroll
7/14/2023 Theater Camp (Limited)         Disney / Searchlight Pictures
7/21/2023 Barbie $55,000,000 – $85,000,000   $120,000,000 – $226,000,000   Warner Bros. Pictures
7/21/2023 Oppenheimer $40,000,000 – $55,000,000   $137,000,000 – $187,000,000   Universal Pictures

Unless otherwise noted, all figures above represent best and worst case scenarios for how each respective film is currently tracking based on existing market conditions and projected model fluctuation at the time of this report’s publication date. These are statistical snapshots, not final forecasts.

Additional pinpoint opening weekend and domestic total projections for theatrical movies up to 12 months from release are available to clients.

For more information about this article or to report any corrections, please contact Boxoffice Pro at numbers@boxoffice.com.

Photos courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures; Melinda Sue Gordon/Universal Pictures