The second-weekend box office performance of “Barbie” raked in an impressive $93 million in North American theaters, earning it a spot among the most successful second-weekend grossing films ever.
This is significant because: The consistent success of “Barbie” is proving to be a silver lining for movie theaters, potentially offsetting potential film delays this fall.
The current scenario: Movie studios are already contemplating the postponement of their leading films due to strikes from writers and actors that have brought Hollywood to a standstill.
Sony announced a delay in the premiere of its new video game adaptation, “Gran Turismo,” from August 11 to August 25, attributing this to the ongoing strikes. Several other adjustments to Sony’s forthcoming movie release schedule were made, including the removal of the next major Spider-Man installment from its spring 2024 agenda. Disney is rumored to be considering similar actions. Looking at the numbers: For the second consecutive weekend, “Barbie” has remained the top film globally, earning over $122 million internationally, resulting in a second-weekend worldwide total of $215 million.
The worldwide earnings of “Barbie” are nearing $775 million, making it one of the highest-grossing films of the year. In its second weekend, “Barbie’s” global ticket sales experienced a mere 32% drop compared to its opening weekend, which is a stronger performance than average. In 57 markets, “Barbie” emerged as the top movie over the weekend, with notably robust second-weekend sales in Europe and China, according to Comscore. Taking the second spot in the global box office charts over the weekend was “Oppenheimer,” amassing $118 million worldwide. North American ticket sales contributed $46 million of this total.
Distributed by Universal Pictures, the film has now exceeded $400 million in gross sales. Overall context: “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” have been instrumental in rekindling momentum for movie theaters after the impact of the pandemic. However, there remain significant obstacles.
The number of widely released films and ticket sales remain low compared to the record highs of 2018 and 2019. Leading entertainment corporations continue to face fiscal pressure from Wall Street, as the stock market is still recovering from last year’s severe market sell-off. Keep an eye on: “Barbie,” produced at a reported cost of approximately $150 million, has sparked interest in more toy-inspired films from Mattel, the producer of Barbie dolls.
Mattel is currently developing 45 films based on toys for which it owns the rights, including Polly Pocket, Hot Wheels, and Thomas the Tank Engine.
The 2023 American film, “Barbie,” is a whimsical, fantasy comedy film directed by the talented Greta Gerwig, with the screenplay penned by Gerwig and Noah Baumbach. This film represents a novel approach in the long-running Barbie franchise by Mattel, as it is the first live-action adaptation following a series of computer-animated films. Margot Robbie stars as Barbie and Ryan Gosling as Ken, with the duo embarking on a path of self-discovery ignited by an existential crisis. The film boasts a star-studded cast that includes America Ferrera, Kate McKinnon, Issa Rae, Rhea Perlman, and Will Ferrell.
The development of a live-action Barbie film was first announced by Universal Pictures in 2009, with Laurence Mark as the producer. The project changed hands in 2014 when Sony Pictures procured the rights. After numerous changes in the writer and director slots, and previously considering Amy Schumer and Anne Hathaway for the role of Barbie, Warner Bros. Pictures assumed control of the project in 2018. The casting of Robbie as Barbie and Gerwig as director and co-writer was finalized by 2019 and 2021, respectively, with the full cast being revealed in 2022. The primary shooting locations were Warner Bros. Studios, Leavesden, in England and the Venice Beach Skatepark in Los Angeles.
The film was first screened at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles on July 9, 2023, and subsequently released nationwide on July 21 by Warner Bros. Pictures. The coincidental release of Universal’s “Oppenheimer” instigated the social media trend “Barbenheimer,” urging audiences to watch both films back-to-back. The film was acclaimed by critics and has accumulated over $823 million globally, making it the third highest grossing film of 2023.
The story takes place in the fictitious world of Barbieland, where a variety of Barbies, including Margot Robbie’s “Barbie,” exist in a female-dominated society where they pursue careers as doctors, lawyers, and politicians. Their Ken counterparts spend their days at the beach, with Gosling’s “Ken” only finding happiness with Barbie.
After an existential crisis at a party, Barbie finds herself physically changing, her once pointed feet now flat and sporting cellulite. Guided by “Weird Barbie,” an outcast, Barbie ventures into the real world with Ken, who sneaks along, to find the child playing with her doll. This journey leads them to Venice Beach, and ultimately to Mattel’s CEO who seeks to capture them.
In this adventure, Barbie meets her owner, Sasha, and her mother Gloria, a Mattel employee. Gloria, grappling with her own identity crisis, had unintentionally transferred her existential issues to Barbie while playing with Sasha’s Barbie toys. Barbie and Ken’s journey concludes in Barbieland, where the Kens have staged a coup, relegating Barbies to traditional female roles.
With the help of Gloria and others, Barbie regains her self-esteem and reverts the Barbies back to their previous positions, but with a newfound respect for Ken’s place in Barbieland. Barbie and Ken make amends, each recognizing their individualistic identity. The film concludes with Barbie transforming into a human named “Barbara Handler” and beginning her life in the real world.