Greta Gerwig's Barbie tops $1bn globally in first for solo woman director

Warner Bros says the movie took in $459m from domestic theatres and $572m abroad at the weekend

Ryan Gosling, left, and Margot Robbie in a scene from Barbie. AP
Powered by automated translation

Hollywood's pink wave has yet to crest as Warner Bros' Barbie dominated for a third straight weekend in North American theatres, pushing the film's global haul past $1 billion in a first for a woman director, industry watcher Exhibitor Relations said Sunday.

The Greta Gerwig-directed blockbuster, starring Margot Robbie as Barbie and Ryan Gosling as boyfriend Ken, earned a projected $53 million from Friday to Sunday, for a domestic total of $459 million and $1.03 billion worldwide.

Not only has Barbie become the first movie directed solely by a woman to pass the $1 billion mark, but it did so faster than any film in Warner Bros' 100-year history, executives said.

"As distribution chiefs, we're not often rendered speechless by a film's performance, but Barbillion has blown even our most optimistic predictions out of the water," said Jeff Goldstein, president of domestic distribution for Warner Bros Pictures, and Andrew Cripps, president of international distribution.

Directed by Oscar-nominated writer and director Greta Gerwig and starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling as Barbie and Ken, the movie sends Mattel's doll on an adventure into the real world.

The film, which earlier scored the biggest opening weekend of the year, "has captured the imagination of moviegoers around the world and the results are incredibly impressive", analyst Paul Dergarabedian of Comscore said.

Warner Bros' co-chairs and chief executives Michael De Luca and Pam Abdy also praised Gerwig and said the milestone, “is testament to her brilliance and to her commitment to deliver a movie that Barbie fans of every age want to see on the big screen".

Universal's Oppenheimer, the dark historical drama that has placed second to Barbie in their debut weeks, was bumped by Warner Bros' newcomer Meg 2: The Trench, an action film featuring gargantuan prehistoric sharks.

Meg 2 pulled in $30 million for the weekend, while Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer earned $28.7 million to push its global total to $552 million.

That total made the story about the creation of the atomic bomb the all-time top grossing Second World War film, ahead of Nolan's Dunkirk ($527 million) and Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan ($482 million), not adjusted for inflation, according to Hollywood Reporter.

Fourth place for the weekend went to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem, the latest in the franchise about a team of reptilian heroes in half shells.

The Paramount animated comedy, featuring the voices of Jackie Chan and Post Malone, brought in $28 million.

Disney release Haunted Mansion slid two spots to fifth, with the lavishly produced kid-centric film starring LaKeith Stanfield, Tiffany Haddish and Owen Wilson earning $8.9 million.

Holding its own in sixth was the independent Sound of Freedom from Santa Fe Films and Angel Studios, at $7 million.

The low-budget action thriller has sparked controversy, with critics saying its story about child sex trafficking plays into QAnon conspiracy theories.

All in all, it was an exceptional weekend for Hollywood, with the top four films all raking in $28 million or more.

Not only did the top films come close to doubling the total from the same weekend last year, they passed the corresponding pre-pandemic weekend in 2019, analysts said.

With reporting from AFP and AP

Updated: August 08, 2023, 1:11 PM