"Barbie" and "Oppenheimer" or "Barbenheimer"

Margot Robbie Was Right: ‘Barbie’ Will Be a Billion-Dollar Movie

When pitching “Barbie” to Warner Bros. executives, producer and star Margot Robbie laid it out: Universal has dinosaurs and Steven Spielberg, WBD could have Barbie and Greta Gerwig. As she told Collider, “And I think I told them that it’d make a billion dollars, which maybe I was overselling, but we had a movie to make, okay?!”

This is a woman who knows the future. Based on estimates for Tuesday’s grosses, Gerwig’s film added $26 million to its domestic take this week. The second weekend will be vital to narrow the guess, but the domestic range could be anywhere from $500 million-$800 million. With over $400 million in worldwide in less than a week, a $1 billion total theatrical take seems increasingly likely.

“Oppenheimer” should achieve about half of that. It grossed a little over $12.0 million on Monday and Tuesday. A range for the domestic estimate is $250 million-$400 million.

The weekday ratio for the two films mirrors what we saw over the weekend ($162 million to $82 million), with holds much better than the norm. Tuesday usually sees an uptick of 25-30 percent thanks to discounted tickets, but near-capacity films are the exception because the lower ticket prices reduce the gross. In this case, “Barbie” was nearly even with Monday and “Oppenheimer” only dropped five percent.

“Oppenheimer”Melinda Sue Gordon

These weekday results strongly suggest that “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” are more than just initial sensations. After five days, “Barbie” is at $214.1 million, “Oppenheimer” $100.1 million. (Through 14 days, “Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One” is at $124 million). “Barbie” also definitively achieved the year’s best opening: “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” grossed $204 million after five days, and “Barbie” might match the animated hit’s first-week total of $240 million by Wednesday.

“Barbie” is also significantly ahead of both “Top Gun: Maverick” and “Avatar: The Way of Water.” After five days, “Maverick” grossed $176 million, including Memorial Day. James Cameron’s sequel grossed $168 million by the same point.

“Oppenheimer” is also a strong performer, although its grosses are hampered by fewer shows and the demand for limited-seating premium screenings. It should earn over $120 million in its first week.

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“Barbie”

To calculate full run projections for “Barbie,” we start from its current $214 billion. It lacks the Christmas uplift that elevated “No Way Home” and “Avatar,” and faces more competition in the weeks ahead. However, it also has additional prime summer weeks (athough fewer than “Maverick”).

To beat “Mario” as best for 2023, it needs to hit $579 million — and there’s a good chance of that. Still to be determined is how many repeat viewings it will see, which is key to achieving stratospheric numbers.

“Oppenheimer” appeal is more limited, although it’s vastly exceeded expectations. Its bigger weekday drop than “Barbie” is likely due to a smaller pool of weekday viewers available for a three-hour film. Advance expectation suggested it could hold better than “Barbie” with its appeal to older viewers, who often don’t see it on the first weekend.

Assuming that happens, it falls into a very imprecise range of $250 million-$400 million. As with “Barbie,” even the lower end of this would be fantastic. Initial foreign grosses for both so far have been a little ahead of domestic.

At the high end “Oppenheimer” could be third best of the year, behind only “Mario” and “Barbie.” “Barbie” will easily top “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse,” which will end up around $385 million, and “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” ($359 million). “Oppenheimer” has a shot to get close to both of these hits; that’s unexpected.

Based on results so far, “Oppenheimer” seems headed for between $400 million- $500 million worldwide. That would exceed the most optimistically pre-release projections.