‘Barbie’ joins $1 billion club, breaks another record for female directors

In just three weeks in theatres, “Barbie” is set to join other 53 movies that have made over $1 billion

By AP

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Greta Gerwig poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Barbie'. — AP
Greta Gerwig poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Barbie'. — AP

Published: Sun 6 Aug 2023, 8:31 PM

Greta Gerwig should be feeling closer to fine these days. In just three weeks in theatres, “Barbie” is set to sail past $1 billion in global ticket sales, breaking a record for female directors that was previously held by Patty Jenkins, who helmed “Wonder Woman".

“Barbie,” which Gerwig directed and co-wrote, added another $53 million from 4,178 North American locations this weekend according to studio estimates on Sunday. The Margot Robbie-led and produced film has been comfortably seated in first place for three weeks and it’s hardly finished yet. Warner Bros. said the film will cross $1 billion before the end of the day.


In modern box office history, just 53 movies have made over $1 billion, not accounting for inflation, and “Barbie” is now the biggest to be directed by one woman, supplanting Wonder Woman’s $821.8 million global total. Three movies that were co-directed by women are still ahead of “Barbie,” including “Frozen” ($1.3 billion) and “Frozen 2” ($1.45 billion) both co-directed by Jennifer Lee and “Captain Marvel” ($1.1 billion), co-directed by Anna Boden. But, “Barbie” has passed “Captain Marvel” domestically with $459.4 million (versus $426.8 million), thereby claiming the North American record for live-action movies directed by women.

New competition came this weekend in the form of the animated, PG-rated “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem” and the Jason Statham shark sequel, “Meg 2: The Trench,” both of which were neck-in-neck with Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer,” also in its third weekend, for the second-place spot.


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“Meg 2” managed to sneak ahead and land in second place. It overcame its abysmal reviews to score a $30 million opening weekend from 3,503 locations. The Warner Bros. release, directed by Ben Wheatley, currently has a 29 per cent critics’ score on Rotten Tomatoes and a B- CinemaScore from audiences. The thriller was released in 3D, which accounted for 22 per cent of its first weekend business.

Third place went to “Oppenheimer," which added $28.7 million from 3,612 locations in North America, bringing its domestic total to $228.6 million. In just three weeks, the J. Robert Oppenheimer biopic starring Cillian Murphy become the highest grossing R-rated film of the year (ahead of “John Wick Chapter 4”) and the sixth-biggest of the year overall, surpassing “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.”

“Oppenheimer” also celebrated a landmark, crossing $500 million globally in three weeks. Its worldwide tally is currently $552.9 million, which puts it ahead of “Dunkirk,” which clocked out with $527 million in 2017 and has become Nolan's fifth-biggest movie ever. It's now among the four top grossing biographies ever (company includes “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “The Passion of the Christ" and “American Sniper”) and the biggest World War II movie of all time.

Paramount’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” was close behind in fourth place with an estimated $28 million from 3,858 theatres in North America. Since opening on Wednesday, the film, which is riding on excellent reviews and audience scores, has earned $43.1 million.


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