The contrasting duo of “Barbie,” a hot-pink sitcom, and “Oppenheimer,” a period meditation drama, combined to sell significantly more movie tickets than expected over the weekend, pushing the domestic box office total to $312 million, according to the latest estimates, which could change when the final tally is released later Monday. Indeed, it was the largest weekend number in North America since 2019, and the fourth largest ever, before adjusting for inflation.
It’s a sign that Hollywood, perhaps, has finally recovered from the pandemic. (Whether the film industry, which deals with the dual strikes of writers and actors, can keep up the momentum is another matter.)
The weekend was also notable for its diversity, with “Barbie” collecting $162 million, “Oppenheimer” $82.4 million and the rest of the features, including “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part 1” and “Sound of Freedom” adding nearly $70 million.
Usually, one blockbuster movie has dominated the biggest weekends for domestic ticket sales. During its highest-grossing weekend, in April 2019, Avengers: Endgame took nearly 90 percent of the box office. By comparison, “Barbie” took just over half of the box office over the weekend.
The double screening of a sitcom based on a children’s toy and an R-rated biopic of the “father of the atomic bomb” was cuddled up by some 200,000 theatergoers during its opening weekend, purchasing tickets for the double dubbed “Barbenheimer” (running time: less than five hours).
For cinema owners, packed houses across the country indicated that people were ready to go to theaters and watch more variety movies. The audience was about 60 percent female for “Barbie” and 60 percent male for “Oppenheimer,” meaning they both had a broader appeal than many initially expected.
Brooks Barnes And Christine Chang Contribute to the preparation of reports.