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Weekend Box Office Prediction: BARBIE and OPPENHEIMER Tracking to Combine for Potential $200M + Opening as ‘Barbenheimer’ Phenomenon Takes Off

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“Barbenheimer” has also captured the pop culture zeitgeist Barbie AND Oppenheimer are set to deliver one of the biggest movie weekends since 2019.

To date, the biggest overall weekend at the box office since 2020 is Spider-Man: No Way HomeDebuting in December 2021, the domestic market grossed a total of $283 million. Before that, theaters had sold $263.9 million Lion Kingopening at the end of July 2019.

Individually, both Barbie AND Oppenheimer can aim for significant achievements. CIRCLE Barbie, Greta Gerwig may secure the record for the biggest opening weekend for a film directed by a woman. The top three movies in that category are now Captain Marvel ($153.4 million, co-directed by Anna Boden and Nia DaCosta along with Ryan Fleck), Frozen II ($130.3 million, co-directed by Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck) and Patty Jenkins Wonder Woman ($103.3 million).

Meanwhile the best openings of Christopher Nolan’s career in the family outside The Dark Knight exclusivity are starting ($62.8 million) and Dunkirk ($50.5 million). Current opening weekend projections for Oppenheimer put the film right in that range.

Especially like both movies Barbiecontinue to trail long-distance anticipation in their showdown against programming, here’s a rundown of what’s in play for the highly-anticipated weekend.


Warner Bros. Pictures

July 21, 2023 (WIDE)

Opening weekend range: $140-175 million


  • Throughout its marketing campaign, Barbie has driven tremendous awareness and interest from women of all ages, an audience that has been largely underserved this summer — with the exception of Disney’s “The Little Mermaid,” a domestic box office hit that’s nearing $300 million in total thanks to healthy staying power amid little competition.
  • Pre-sales have blown away all expectations in recent weeks as the “Barbenheimer” phenomenon has taken social media by storm. Independent sales figures reflect the meme’s popularity, with Barbie trend more than 200 percent forward The Little MermaidThursday’s projections for actual admissions, taking into account Wednesday’s “Barbie Blowout Party” showings in about 500 locations. Other bullish patterns have Barbie trending 29 percent ahead of recent Marvel movies Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 AND Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantum.
  • Boxoffice ProParent company Boxoffice Company reports that the film has outsold all 2023 releases at the same point in the release cycle, making it the best-selling since Avatar: The Path of Water.
  • Reviews have been overwhelmingly positive for director and co-writer Greta Gerwig’s adaptation of the Mattel toy line with a 90 percent Rotten Tomatoes score from 138 critics. If audience reception is comparable, Barbie can avoid a strong forward run.


  • Although the film is showing in staggered times where possible (especially in the Dolby Cinema), Barbie will lack much of the typical premium screen footprint that accompanies most major studio releases due to Oppenheimer carrying IMAX exclusively as well as many screenings in other formats. This creates significant volatility in the floor and ceiling of forecasts. (Notably, Warner Bros. is eyeing $75 million Barbieopening it.)
  • The reviews point to Barbie‘s appeal as a satirical comedy, which likely limited its target audience to younger and older viewers than the kid-friendly and parent-friendly demographic it appealed to. The movie Super Mario Bros earlier this year.


Universal photo

July 21, 2023 (WIDE)

Opening Weekend Range: $52M – $72M


  • Christopher Nolan’s reputation as a pioneer of modern spectacle cinema driven by strong narratives with broad audience appeal is a major driving force behind his latest original film. Another factor driving admissions is Nolan’s loyal fan base, which has expanded since its release The Dark Knight trilogy and starting.
  • Perhaps as a partial consequence of the “Barbenheimer” phenomenon, Oppenheimer pre-sales in sample regions have exceeded even optimistic expectations, with independent tracking sources placing the film at least 73 percent ahead of the pace of Dune and a little further John Wick: Chapter 4 when it is suitable for Oppenheimerpremium display high demand.
  • According to a report from the National Association of Theater Owners, in addition to the pre-sale trends, double screenings of the films are planned by more than 200,000 viewers. This can work for adults OppenheimerIt is already a high profile among the youth segments Barbie audience that might not have turned out otherwise for Universal’s opening weekend release.
  • OppenheimerIts initial wave of reviews are overwhelmingly positive, landing at 95 percent from 98 critics. The film is widely considered an early awards season contender with strong adult appeal that could lead the box office through the rest of the summer.


  • Given the advance demand arrangement, audiences seem to be favoring PLF for their viewing Oppenheimer. That could create more of a backlog in the grand scheme of things — which would be a positive development, even as it increases volatility and lowers the ceiling for opening weekend projections in case the incremental sales outside the big cities don’t end up as strong as is typical for other films.
  • As a three-hour, R-rated film, the film may fall outside the wheelhouse of some of Nolan’s audience and overlook more metro-regional appeal.

The actual projection range requires a 97% to 127% increase from last weekend’s total of $134.2 million.

movie Studio 3-day weekend forecast Estimated domestic total as of Sunday, July 23 Friday location count projection (from Wednesday) % 3-day change from previous day
Barbie Warner Bros. Pictures 158 500 000 dollars 158 500 000 dollars ~ 4200 NEW
Oppenheimer Universal photo $64,700,000 $64,700,000 ~ 3600 NEW
Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One Paramount Pictures 25 800 000 dollars $125,900,000 ~ 4200 -53%
The Sound of Freedom Angel Studios 21 100 000 dollars 126 000 000 dollars ~ 3100 -23%
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny Disney / Lucasfilm $7,400,000 $159,800,000 ~ 2700 -40%
BaSiC Walt Disney Pictures / Pixar $6,800,000 $138,100,000 ~ 2700 -25%
Secret: The Red Door Sony Pictures / Screen Gems $6,500,000 71 600 000 dollars ~2500 -50%
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse Sony / Columbia Pictures $3,700,000 376 000 000 dollars ~ 1900 -39%
Transformers: Rise of the Beasts Paramount Pictures 1 500 000 dollars $156,100,000 ~900 -56%
There are no hard feelings Sony / Columbia Pictures $1,400,000 49 600 000 dollars ~1000 -57%
The Little Mermaid (2023) Pictures of Walt Disney ~800

All predictions are subject to revision/finalizationn before the first confirmation of opening previews or Friday ratings from studios or official sources.

Theater numbers are either studio estimates OR unofficial predictions if preceded by a “~”.

The table above does not necessarily represent the top ten as some studios do not finalize weekend location counts and/or intend to report box office returns prior to release.



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