Weekend Box Office: BARBIE and OPPENHEIMER Combine for Fourth Highest-Earning Domestic Weekend of All-Time, Best Summer Weekend on Record

Courtesy of Warner Bros and Universal Pictures

A Historic Weekend

Monday Update, with actuals: Domestically, Warner Bros. increased its Barbie estimate from $155.0M to an $162.0M actual, while Universal enlarged its Oppenheimer estimate from $80.5M to an $82.4M actual.

Warner Bros. also bolstered its Barbie estimates from $182.0M overseas and $337.0M globally, to $194.3M overseas and $356.3M globally.

Universal also upped its Oppenheimer estimates from $93.7M overseas and $174.2M globally, to $97.9M overseas and $180.3M globally.


Sunday Update: Monday’s box office actuals will tell the full story, but as of Sunday it looks like this frame’s figures will combine to register the highest-earning summer weekend with a projected $301.4 million total. This would make the weekend the fourth highest-earning at the domestic box office on record, behind only:

  1. April 26-28, 2019 with $401.9M, led by Avengers: Endgame
  2. December 18-20, 2015 with $313.0M, led by Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  3. April 27-29, 2015 with $312.3M, led by Avengers: Infinity War

Notably, those other frames were practically monopolized in marketshare by the debut of their respective studio tentpoles, compared to this weekend—which saw Universal’s Barbie and Warner Bros.’ Oppenheimer dominate the market. According to The Boxoffice Company’s Showtimes Dashboard, Barbie and Oppenheimer combined to claim a total of 45% of all showtimes in the United States—a particular feat considering the latter film’s three-hour running time. 

The National Association of Theatre Owners reported that more than 200 thousand moviegoers have purchased tickets to both Barbie and Oppenheimer in the same weekend, a phenomenon nicknamed “Barbenheimer.”

“This was a phenomenal experience for people who love movies on the big screen,” Michael O’Leary, President and CEO of NATO (the National Association of Theatre Owners) said in a statement. “Our partners in the creative community and at the studios gave audiences two uniquely different, smart and original stories that were meant for the big screen and movie lovers responded by gathering friends and family and heading to their local movie houses across the nation,” O’Leary continued. “This weekend is a shining example of how there is simply no substitute for seeing a motion picture in the cinema.”

AMC CEO Adam Aron claimed on Twitter that his circuit, the nation’s largest, had confirmed 60,000+ loyalty members committed to participating in the double-feature. 

Jeff Goldstein, EVP of Domestic Theatrical Distribution at Warner Bros., called the frame “a unique and extraordinary weekend” in a conversation with Boxoffice Pro on Sunday. “What’s interesting is that these are movies with audiences that are complementary to each other: Barbie 65% female, 35%, male—and Oppenheimer is the reverse. Here you have two movies that have A cinema scores, that are 90 or above in both the Rotten Tomatoes Critics Audience Score. Audiences are loving both these quality movies,” he said. 

Jim Orr, President of Domestic Theatrical Distribution at Universal Pictures, echoed those sentiments in his own comments to Boxoffice Pro. “You have two audiences that are somewhat different. Our title was more male at 62%, but what’s interesting is that our title was actually very broad: 32% of our audience was 18 to 24, which is incredible. 60% of our audience is 18 to 34. And so, while we might have been slightly more male, we still have a very broad age range. Overall, it speaks to the fact that people want to be in theaters, that there’s no real, legitimate replacement for the excitement and experience of being in a theater to see a movie like Oppenheimer on the big screen,” he said. “When audiences realize the occasion is worth the value proposition, they come out to theaters and they come out in droves.”


Barbie

Hollywood was living in a Barbie world, as Warner Bros.’ comedy opened to $155.0M in first place, the #24 opening weekend of all time.

It also marks the #1 opening weekend of 2023 so far, +6% ahead of the prior record holder, April’s The Super Mario Bros. Movie with $146.3M.

Interestingly, on the all-time list, it’s directly in the middle of four other films also with female protagonists:

  • Right behind 2013’s Catching Fire ($158.0M) and 2016’s Rogue One ($155.0M)
  • Right above 2019’s Captain Marvel ($153.4M) and 2012’s The Hunger Games ($152.5M)

It also marks the #5 July opening of all time, behind only:

  1. 2019’s The Lion King ($191.7M)
  2. 2011’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II ($169.1M)
  3. 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises ($160.8M)
  4. 2008’s The Dark Knight ($158.4M)

While true comps for Barbie are few and far between, it opened 2.24x above 2014’s The Lego Movie with $69.0M, a fellow Warner Bros. offbeat irreverent take on a beloved iconic toy product.

Warner Bros. went all-in for the marketing of the title, coordinating with all business lines across Warner Bros. Discovery to promote the title through an initiative code named “Barbie Summer.” The corporate marketing machine was complemented by in-theater marketing efforts from exhibitors around the world. “I give theater owners a huge call out, everyone from the small exhibitors, to the midsize exhibitors, and the large exhibitors,” Goldstein shared with Boxoffice Pro. “They’ve reached out to their entire customer base with some of the most creative and funny messaging I’ve seen during my time in this business.”

Audience demographics

Barbie’s audience was 65% female. Compared to some other $100M+ opening films with female protagonists, that’s:

  • Higher than 2019’s Captain Marvel (45%)
  • Higher than 2017’s Wonder Woman (52%)
  • Higher than 2017’s Beauty and the Beast (60%)
  • Lower than May’s The Little Mermaid (68%)

Barbie’s audience was also 81% younger than 35. Compared to those same films, that’s:

  • Younger than Wonder Woman (53%)
  • Younger than Marvel (62%)
  • Younger than Beauty (73%)
  • Younger than Mermaid (75%)

Barbie’s audience demographics were 56% white, 23% Hispanic, 10% black, and 7% Asian.

The film’s 10 highest-grossing cinemas were:

  1. AMC Burbank Los Angeles
  2. AMC Empire New York
  3. AMC Lincoln Square New York
  4. Regal Irvine Spectrum Los Angeles
  5. AMC Grove Los Angeles
  6. AMC Century City Los Angeles
  7. AMC Boston Common
  8. AMC Disney Springs Orlando
  9. Regal Edwards Greenway Grand Palace Houston
  10. Regal Union Square New York

Overseas / global

Barbie opened to $182.0M overseas and $337.0M globally.

That global opening is 2.05x The Little Mermaid ($163.8M) and -3% below Beauty and the Beast ($350.0M).

Top overseas markets are:

  1. U.K.: $22.9M
  2. Mexico: $22.3M
  3. Brazil: $15.9M
  4. Australia: $14.6M
  5. Spain: $9.9M
  6. France: $9.8M
  7. China: $8.2M
  8. Italy: $8.2M
  9. Germany: $7.2M
  10. Argentina: $4.4M

Exit Polling

How will Barbie fare moving forward?

Word of mouth is strong, with an “A” CinemaScore, a 90% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and a PostTrak score of 5 out of 5.

So not only does it have the year’s highest opening weekend so far, it also stands a real chance of ending as the highest-grossing film of the entire year when it’s all said and done. 

Unlikely challengers for the title include November’s The Marvels and December’s Aquman and the Lost Kingdom, though both of those seem unlikely.


Oppenheimer

Universal’s historical war drama blasted to $80.5M and second place, the #11 R-rated opening of all time.

It’s also writer-director Christopher Nolan’s highest (non-Batman) opening weekend, coming in at:

  • +28% above 2010’s Inception: $62.7M
  • +59% above 2017’s Dunkirk: $50.5M
  • +69% above 2014’s Interstellar: $47.5M

In its opening weekend alone, the film has already exceeded the final totals for such other World War II-set films as:

  • 2014’s The Monuments Men: $78.0M
  • 2016’s Hacksaw Ridge: $67.2M
  • 2019’s Midway: $56.8M
  • 2017’s Darkest Hour: $56.4M
  • 2012’s Red Tails: $49.8M
  • 2016’s Allied: $40.0M

Before the week is done, or by next weekend at the latest, it looks likely to exceed the final totals for such other World War II-set films as:

  • 2014’s Unbroken: $115.6M
  • 2014’s The Imitation Game: $91.1M
  • 2014’s Fury: $85.8M
  • 2008’s Valkyrie: $83.1M

Audience demographics

The audience was an estimated 62% male, which is:

  • Higher than May’s Fast X (58%)
  • Higher than June’s Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (59%)
  • Higher than July’s Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part One (60%)
  • Lower than March’s John Wick: Chapter 4 (69%)

Oppenheimer’s audience was also 63% older than 25, which is:

  • Younger than March’s John Wick: Chapter 4 (70%)
  • Younger than May’s Fast X (65% ages 25+)
  • Older than June’s Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (59% ages 25+)

Oppenheimer’s audience was also 55% white, 21% Hispanic, 11% Asian, and 9% black.

It earns an “A” CinemaScore and a 94% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes.

On the Premium Large Format side, the film earned 26% of its opening domestic gross from IMAX and 47% from premium formats overall. “The exhibitor branded Premium Large Format screens are also generating great returns for us, currently producing 17% of our total gross,” shared Orr with Boxoffice Pro. “AMC’s Dolby Cinema, Regal’s RPX, Cinemark’s XD, and other exhibitor-branded premium screens have been tremendously important to our success this weekend. Audiences love seeing [our films] in the best format possible. The IMAX results, particularly, were just absolutely through the roof and they have been a tremendous partner for us.”

Celluloid screenings were also in high demand for Oppenheimer. The film’s opening weekend included 140 screens showing the title in 70mm, including 25 in IMAX 70mm. 6% of the domestic opening weekend came from those 140 screens in 70mm, with 2% of the total domestic gross coming from the 25 iMAX 70mm screens alone.

Overseas / global

Oppenheimer debuts with $93.7M overseas and $174.2M globally. That global debut is:

  • +31% above Interstellar with $132.6M
  • +64% above Dunkirk with $105.9M

It also marks the biggest global opening for a biopic ever, beating 2018’s Bohemian Rhapsody with $124M.

Oppenheimer also earns 20% of its global opening from IMAX, the format’s largest global opening so far in 2023.

Top overseas markets include:

  1. U.K.: $13.3M
  2. India: $7.0M
  3. France: $6.6M
  4. Germany: $6.4M
  5. Australia: $6.3M
  6. Mexico: $4.5M
  7. Saudi Arabia: $3.9M
  8. Spain: $3.5M
  9. U.A.E.: $2.8M
  10. Brazil: $2.4M

Sound of Freedom

Last weekend, in its sophomore frame, Angel Studios’ faith-based action drama actually rose from third place to second place with $27.2M.

Its astonishing +37% gain marked the best sophomore weekend improvement ever for a wide release, excluding holidays.

Four films had posted better second weekend improvements, but they were all released during the weekend before Christmas:

  1. 2017’s The Greatest Showman (+76%)
  2. 2005’s Cheaper by the Dozen 2 (+55%)
  3. 2011’s We Bought a Zoo (+41%)
  4. 2017’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (+38%)

Now in its third frame, Sound declines a mild -26% to $20.1M and third place.

With $124.7M through 20 days, Sound is almost certainly the biggest box office surprise of 2023. Indeed, it’s one of the biggest box office surprises of this entire era.

The film has already exceeded the final totals of almost all of the biggest faith-based films of recent years – in some cases, far exceeded:

  • 2014’s Heaven is for Real ($91.3M)
  • 2018’s I Can Only Imagine ($83.4M)
  • 2015’s War Room ($67.7M)
  • 2016’s Miracles from Heaven ($61.7M)
  • 2014’s God’s Not Dead ($60.7M)
  • 2014’s Son of God ($59.7M)
  • 2017’s The Shack ($57.3M)
  • February’s Jesus Revolution ($52.1M)

Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One

After debuting midweek on a Wednesday, Paramount’s action sequel earned a $54.6M opening weekend last frame, en route to a $78.4M five-day debut.

Now in its sophomore frame, it falls a steep -64% after ceding ground on IMAX screens to Oppenheimer, earning $19.5M in a fourth place finish over its second weekend in the market. 

That sophomore drop is steeper than for the three most recent Mission: Impossible installments, the three most recent James Bond installments, and star Tom Cruise’s most recent action film:

  • 2018’s Mission: Impossible — Fallout (-42%)
  • 2015’s Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation (-49%)
  • 2011’s Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol (-32%)
  • 2021’s No Time to Die (-57%)
  • 2015’s Spectre (-52%)
  • 2012’s Skyfall (-52%)
  • 2022’s Top Gun: Maverick (-29%)

Through 12 days, Reckoning has earned $118.7M domestically.

Here’s how that compares through the same point in release. In particular, it’s trailing its immediate Mission: Impossible predecessor, and looks to imminently fall behind its 2015 predecessor as well:

  • -12% behind 2018’s Fallout: $134.9M
  • +2% above 2015’s Rogue Nation: $115.6M
  • +14% above 2021’s No Time to Die: $103.9M
  • -11% behind 2015’s Spectre: $134.6M
  • -63% behind 2022’s Maverick: $321.8M

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

Now in its fourth frame, the Disney / Lucasfilm action-adventure sequel falls -45% to $6.7M and fifth place.

With $159.0M total through 24 days, Dial is running -42% through Skull through the same point in release: $276.5M.

That’s even further behind than its opening weekend, which was -39% behind Skull.


Insidious: The Red Door

Now in its third frame, Sony Pictures’ fifth horror installment falls -50% to $6.5M and sixth place.

With $71.0M through 17 days, Door is holding well compared to its predecessors through the same point in release, particularly the sequels.

For example, despite opening below 2013’s second installment, it’s now running ahead of it through the equivalent point in release:

Film

Door opened

Door now

Trend

2011’s Insidious

2.48x

+97%

Down

2013’s Insidious: Chapter 2

-18%

+2%

Up

2015’s Insidious: Chapter 3

+45%

+56%

Up

2018’s Insidious: The Last Key

+11%

+21%

Up

Read Boxoffice PRO’s interview with Insidious: The Red Door director Patrick Wilson here:


Elemental

In its sixth frame, the Disney/Pixar animated original declines -36% to $5.8M and seventh place.

With $137.2M through 38 days, Elemental is holding well compared to some other Pixar films from the past decade through the equivalent point in release.

For example, it’s now finished above the final totals for both 2022’s Lightyear and 2015’s The Good Dinosaur, despite opening below both titles:

Film

Elemental opened

Elemental now

Trend

2022’s Lightyear

-41%

+16

Up

2015’s The Good Dinosaur

-24%

+11%

Up

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

Sony Pictures’ animated action sequel declines -53% to $2.8M and eighth place.

With $375.2M through 52 days, it’s +97% ahead of the $90.1M final total for 2018 predecessor Into the Spider-Verse.


Transformers: Rise of the Beasts

Paramount’s sci-fi action sequel falls a steep -67% to $1.1M and ninth place.

With $155.6M through 45 days, it’s +19% ahead of the $130.1M final total for 2017 predecessor Transformers: The Last Knight.

It’s also +22% ahead of the $127.1M final total for 2018 predecessor Bumblebee.


Theater Camp

Last weekend, Searchlight Pictures’ mockumentary comedy opened with $301,220 in six theaters.

Its $50,203 per-theater average marked the #4 average of 2023 so far, behind only:

  1. June’s Asteroid City: $142,230
  2. April’s Beau is Afraid: $80,099
  3. June’s Past Lives: $58,067

Now in its sophomore frame, Theater Camp expands to 51 theaters with $266K.

After originally playing in just New York City and Los Angeles, new markets include Austin, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Phoenix, San Francisco, Washington D.C., and Toronto.

Over-indexing cinemas include the Metreon in San Francisco, the Boston Commons, the Camelview Scottsdale in Arizona, and the Alamo Sloans Lake in Denver. 

The audience is an estimated 53% female and 60% younger than 35.

By race, it’s 75% white, 14% Hispanic, 12% Asian, and 3% black.

The film will continue to expand, peaking at 600-800 theaters later in August.

Read Boxoffice PRO’s interview with Theater Camp directors Molly Gordon and Nick Lieberman here:


Weekend comparisons

Total box office this weekend came in around $301.4M.

That marks the #4 largest box office of all time, and the largest of the post-pandemic era.

The previous highest post-Covid frame was December 17-19, 2021 with $282.9M, led by the debut of Spider-Man: No Way Home.

Here’s how this weekend compares to last weekend, the same weekend last year, and the same weekend in the last pre-pandemic year of 2019:

Weekend

Total

This weekend is:

Leader

Last weekend

$140.1M

2.15x

Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One ($54.6M)

Same weekend in 2022

$126.2M

2.38x

Nope ($44.3M)

Same weekend in 2019

$263.8M

+14%

The Lion King ($191.7M)

YTD comparisons

Year-to-date box office stands around $5.32B.

Here’s how that compares to last year and the last pre-pandemic year of 2019, through the same point:

Year

YTD total

2023 YTD now:

2023 YTD after last weekend:

Trend

2022

$4.55B

+16.8%

+12.6%

Up

2019

$6.57B

-19.0%

-20.8%

Up

Top distributors

With Barbie, Warner Bros. rises from sixth place to fifth place among domestic distributors’ box office this year – justifying their mantle as one of Hollywood’s so-called “Big Five” distributors.

(For the past few months, Warner Bros. has lagged behind Lionsgate.)

Universal and Disney rank in first and second place, by about double any other distributor.

Grouped by parent company, the YTD leaders are:

  1. Disney + 20th Century + Searchlight + Star: $1.52B
  2. Universal + Focus Features: $1.23B
  3. Sony Pictures + Sony Classics + Crunchyroll: $697.5M
  4. Paramount: $534.8M
  5. Warner Bros.: $426.4M
  6. Lionsgate: $347.7M

Sunday’s Studio Weekend Estimates: 

Title  Estimated weekend  % change Locations Location change Average  Total  Weekend Distributor
Barbie $155,000,000   4,243   $36,531 $155,000,000 1 Warner Bros.
Oppenheimer $80,500,000   3,610   $22,299 $80,500,000 1 Universal
Sound of Freedom $20,140,647 -26% 3,285 20 $6,131 $124,748,584 3 Angel Studios
Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One $19,500,000 -64% 4,321 -6 $4,513 $118,753,000 2 Paramount
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny $6,700,000 -45% 2,885 -980 $2,322 $159,018,862 4 Walt Disney
Insidious: The Red Door $6,500,000 -50% 2,554 -634 $2,545 $71,002,000 3 Sony Pictures
Elemental $5,800,000 -36% 2,720 -515 $2,132 $137,233,827 6 Walt Disney
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse $2,815,000 -53% 1,669 -908 $1,687 $375,209,000 8 Sony Pictures
Transformers: Rise of the Beasts $1,120,000 -67% 834 -1,207 $1,343 $155,643,000 7 Paramount
No Hard Feelings $1,075,000 -67% 1,017 -1,036 $1,057 $49,211,000 5 Sony Pictures
The Little Mermaid $687,000 -71% 620 -995 $1,108 $296,099,596 9 Walt Disney
Joy Ride $350,000 -87% 335 -2,485 $1,045 $12,518,180 3 Lionsgate
Asteroid City $306,000 -74% 294 -419 $1,041 $27,274,000 6 Focus Features [Universal]
Theater Camp $266,000 -12% 51 45 $5,216 $672,487 2 Searchlight [Disney]
Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken $175,500 -84% 502 -1,259 $350 $15,413,000 4 Universal
Past Lives $166,360 -69% 176 -210 $945 $10,042,255 8 A24
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 $100,000 -78% 125 -280 $800 $358,826,794 12 Walt Disney
The Super Mario Bros. Movie $90,000 13% 134 -27 $672 $574,045,000 16 Universal
The Blackening $62,000 -77% 68 -148 $912 $17,665,826 6 Lionsgate
Afire $26,450 -31% 4   $6,613 $80,301 2 Janus Films
The Boogeyman $18,000 -87% 125 -100 $144 $43,228,277 8 20th Century Studios [Disney]
Lakota Nation vs. United States $3,500 -59% 2 1 $1,750 $15,000 2 IFC Films
Courtesy of Warner Bros and Universal Pictures
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