‘Barbie’ beats ‘Oppenheimer’ at N. American box offices in ‘historic’ weekend | Malay Mail

LOS ANGELES, July 24 — Are movies — and theaters — finally back after the pandemic?

With so many pink-clad moviegoers in theaters, Warner Bros.’ Barbie” conquered North American box offices in its debut weekend, raking in US$155 million (RM707 million), according to Sunday estimates — nearly double the money of its second-place competitor.

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The other half of the highly anticipated “Barbenheimer” cinematic weekend — which saw Universal’s darker biopic Oppenheimer released on the same day and prompted hundreds of thousands to tune in to their own double feature – bringing in its own whopping US$80.5 million, according to figures from Exhibitor Relations.

The serendipitous same-day release of two wildly different but highly anticipated films — one following an iconic doll poised to paint the world pink and the other about the scientist who helped invent the atomic bomb — created a bottom-up pop-culture phenomenon that transcended individual marketing for either.

Together, they’ve also helped theaters bring in huge crowds, a shot in the arm for an industry hit hard by the pandemic as well as the rise of streaming services.

“The subtext of the ‘Barbenheimer’ joke is that it can’t be two different movies,” David A. Gross, of Franchise Entertainment Research, told AFP.

At the same time, he added, “The movie industry has a very healthy record of accommodating two big pictures. Moviegoers go when there are hot movies.”

In a note on Sunday, Gross wrote that the opening for Barbie is “record breaking.”

“No comedy film of any kind has ever opened higher than US$85.9m over a 3-day weekend,” he wrote.

Barbie has become what we call a zeitgeist film. It seems to be hitting a chord,” he told AFP.

Oppenheimerfor its part, saw “a very good opening,” Gross wrote in his Sunday note.

Double DIY feature

According to industry estimates, about 200,000 people are thought to have bought tickets to both films on the same day.

Emma McNealy, 35, is one of them.

“I heard that online people are planning to do this and it’s funny to me,” the account manager told AFP. “At first I wasn’t planning on it because I didn’t feel like anyone else would want to spend all day doing this bit, but luckily a friend did.”

Although both films piqued interest in the other, it was “Barbie” that drew him to try the double feature.

“I’m sure I’m watching (Oppenheimer) eventually, but not during the opening weekend,” she said. “I think a lot of girls are like a Barbie that gets more layers in this saying, it’s not just candy-coated.”

Millions more are likely to catch the same movie on separate days.

“This is a wonderful experience for people who love movies on the big screen,” National Association of Theater Owners president and CEO Michael O’Leary said in a statement Sunday.

“It was a truly historic weekend.”

The “Barbenheimer” films combined left a wide gap between the weekend’s top two box office spots and the number three slot, occupied by Sound of Freedom.

The controversial action thriller from Santa Fe Films and Angel Studios, which critics say plays on QAnon conspiracy theories, brought in US$20.14 million.

The fourth and fifth spots saw the kind of franchise sequels that have dominated the box office recently.

Paramount’s Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part Onethe latest in the long-running series starring Tom Cruise, brought in US$19.5 million.

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, from Disney, brought in US$6.7 million. This “Indy” episode, likely the last, once again stars Harrison Ford as an archaeologist who blows up.

Rounding out the top 10 are:

Insidious: The Red Door (US$6.5 million)

Elemental (US$5.8 million)

Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse (US$2.8 million)

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts (US$1.12 million)

No Hard Feelings (US$1.07 million) — AFP

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