Saturday PM: If you weren’t at Barbie or Oppenheimer, or both movies this weekend, consider yourself square.
Updated figures show Warner Bros.’ new franchise based on the Mattel doll at $45M tonight (-36% from Friday/previews), for what is shaping up to still be a $150M start; the biggest opening of 2023. Others believe in their bones this Greta Gerwing directed, Margot Robbie-Ryan Gosling combo is destined for $155M-$160M. Warners isn’t a studio to get over their skis in estimates.
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Meanwhile, Oppenheimer might be about a bomb, but it’s certainly not a bomb in the box office sense of the word with the Universal Christopher Nolan directed movie eyeing $25.8M today, -22% from Friday night/previews of $33M for what’s shaping up to be an awesome $80M opening. As we spotted on Thursday night, Oppenheimer looked like it was going to emulate the box office trajectory of the R-rated X-Men title, Logan. That pic’s first day/previews was also $33M, however had a $31.3M Saturday for what turned out to be an $88.4M opening. Point is, audiences are approaching this Nolan movie like a comic-book movie, not the adult drama that it is. In fact both movies’ fervent fans are owning it in their cinema attire, dressing up like the characters in Barbie and Oppenheimer.
For those who didn’t do their box office homework, we’ve had a late July Christopher Nolan pic vs. female demo tentpole face-off before back in 2008; in fact it was a Warner Bros-Universal fight as well. However, Nolan was in the No. 1 spot. That battle was Dark Knight ($158.4M opening) versus Mamma Mia! ($27.7M).
Arguments could be made that Barbie raised Oppenheimer‘s boat, however, that loss of Imax screens has Paramount’s Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning taking a second weekend hit of -65% with $19M, and running total of $118.2M. Sequel’s second Saturday business of $7.5M was up over Friday’s $5.5M by +35%.
Meanwhile over at the highest grossing movie theater in the country, for Barbie — the AMC Burbank:
Saturday AM: At a time when Hollywood fears that the Q3 and Q4 2023 release schedule will fall apart because of the dual SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes, the motion picture industry is reaping one of the biggest domestic box office weekends on record. That’s with Warner Bros.’ Barbie and Universal’s Oppenheimer lighting up an estimated $308M+ overall three-day.
That’s the biggest weekend post-pandemic, easily burying the weekend when Spider-Man: No Way Home opened over Dec. 17-19, 2021 and all pics totaled $281.8M. Per Comscore, this weekend will be the fourth-biggest of all-time, after the Avengers: Endgame frame (April 26-28, 2019; $402M), Avengers: Infinity War‘s weekend (April 27-29, 2018; $314.8M) and the weekend when Star Wars: Force Awakens debuted (all pics over Dec. 18-20, 2015 grossing $313.2M).
Barbie has a lot of bragging rights beyond owning a dream house and sports car: Warners still says $150M+ 3-day for America’s blonde. But industry calculations believe it’s well more than $161M. Any way you cut it, it’s the biggest opening weekend of 2023 to date after an opening day, also best YTD, of $70.5M.
Oppenheimer is eyeing $77M 3-day after a $33M opening day — just mindblowing that a 3-hour adult drama could emulate what’s akin to a superhero movie in its first installment. Oppenheimer is Christopher Nolan’s third-best career opening at the U.S./Canada box office; it’s also the best opening for an R-rated movie YTD, outpegging John Wick: Chapter 4 ($73.8M). It’s also a testament to his fan power, which he accumulated from his Dark Knight days, the 18-34 bunch here still strong at 59%. Both movies get solid A CinemaScores. Note, whatever the industry is calling safely here this morning could pay out like a broken slot machine by tonight: Whenever there’s heat on a movie, it just keeps going up and up and up at the box office.
One distrib points out that never before in the history of box office has a weekend seen one movie open to $100M+ and a second to $50M+.
This moment should be a come-to-Jesus for the major studios: Get back to the bargaining tables with SAG-AFTRA and come to a deal. The guild’s National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland told Deadline yesterday that they’re still waiting to hear back from the AMPTP, and are ready to talk. After the industry and exhibition struggled to get box office back to this point after a year of closures in major markets during Covid, why should the entire industry allow the ecosystem to be capsized again? Already, there are whispers that Dune: Part Two is moving off its first weekend in November release date. If that happens, it will leave an enormous crater in the pre-holiday schedule. Why ruin a good thing?
While David Zaslav’s Warner Bros Discovery has had clunky times recently with DC Studios’ Shazam: Fury of the Gods and The Flash tanking, the studio is a phoenix rising here with Barbie having lassoed this pop culture whale from the onset. Zaslav, I’m told, declared this summer “The summer of Barbie,” and had all units working to open this film. Warner Bros.’ social media marketing promptly stoked millennials and every single woman on Earth with memes, whereby folks placed their own photos into the Barbie logo. It was an old internet marketing tactic made anew, giving early fans an ownership of the movie.
Now they’re dressing up like Barbie and heading out to the theater and taking over San Diego Comic-Con this weekend. Barbenheimer fan-made art is a thing on social. Seriously, this is absolute ecstasy for any Hollywood studio marketing exec. They tee it up and it just takes off.
Record breakdown: Barbie, per Warner Bros., had the largest presales in the studio’s history, and the pic is repping record openings for filmmaker Greta Gerwig, Margot Robbie (besting Suicide Squad‘s $134M) and Ryan Gosling (beating Blade Runner 2049‘s $33M start). Barbie‘s opening is one of the best all-time for a female-skewing movie (68% currently), after Beauty and the Beast ($174.7M), The Hunger Games: Catching Fire ($158M), Captain Marvel ($153.4M), and The Hunger Games ($152.5M). The feature take of the Mattel doll has an opening day that’s above such female-fave titles as Hunger Games ($67.2M), Beauty and the Beast ($63.7M), and 2010’s Twilight Saga: Eclipse ($68.5M).
Females under 25 on CinemaScore (at 26%) give Barbie an A+. PostTrak exits are currently at 89% positive and a 79% recommend, with kids under 12 giving it 87% in the top two and a 75% must- see. Largest demo was 18-24 year olds at 27%. Diversity demos were 42% Caucasian, 29% Latino and Hispanic, 12% Black, & 17% Asian/other. “Barbie played strongest….everywhere,” beamed one rival distribution source today. Warners wound up securing the AMC Dolby Vision screens in all spots where an Imax screen also exists, which I’m told was a smart move here, since the movie is overperforming. PLFs, largely Dolby Vision, are greasing 10% of ticket sales, and less than 700 auditoriums are generating that. The AMC Burbank is Barbie‘s top hub in the nation with $194K so far, including previews.
Zaslav’s conglom power promo plan for Barbie was themed around “Barbie in the Real World.” Some of the highlights included The Barbie Dreamhouse Challenge on HGTV, a four-part competition series that debuted on July 16 which had HGTV show talent compete in teams to redesign a home in various Barbie-inspired rooms from across the decades.
The film was featured throughout the program with fun clips, as well as in promos leading up to its debut, and on-air graphics across the network. There was a Summer Baking Championship on Food Network which had a Barbie-themed competition segment on June 16. There were also Barbie logo takeovers across the Warner Bros Discovery 15-network suite, including Discovery, Food, HGTV, TLC, TNT, TLC, Tru, and more.
Oppenheimer‘s Imax screens and a chunk of PLFs (non Dolby Vision) rep close to half of this weekend’s gross (yowza). 70MM prints, another format of choice for Nolan — those venues are sold out, I hear. PostTrak still high at 93% positive and a 74% definite recommend. Guy-leaning here at 64%, and the 18-24 year olds are the biggest demo at 33%. Diversity swath is 53% Caucasian, 22% Latino and Hispanic, 9% Black, & 15% Asian/other. Oppenheimer played strongest in the East, Midwest and Mountain regions, but was nuclear everywhere. Pic’s best theater in the country is Hollywood’s TCL Chinese Theatre with $153K, including previews so far.
1.) Barbie (WB) 4,243 theaters, Fri $70.5M, 3-day $150M/Wk 1
2.) Oppenheimer (Uni) 3,610 theaters Fri $33M, 3-day $77M/Wk 1
3.) Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One (Par) 4,321 (-6) theaters, Fri $5.56M (-67%), 3-day $21M (-62%), Total $120.2M/Wk 2
4.) Sound of Freedom (Angel) 3,285 (+20) theaters, Fri $5.4M (-28%) 3-day $20M (-27%), Total $124.6M/Wk 3
5.)Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (Dis) 2,885 (-980) theaters, Fri $1.9M (-42%) 3-day $7M (-43%)/Total $159.3M/Wk 4
6.) Insidous: The Red Door (Sony/Blum) 2,554 (-634) theaters Fri $2M (-51%) 3-day $6.5M (-50%)/Total $71M/Wk 3
7.) Elemental (Dis) 2,720 (-515) theaters, Fri $1.8M (-30%) 3-day $6.2M (-31%), Total $137.6M/Wk 6
8.) Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (Sony) 1,669 (-908) theaters, Fri $855K (-50%) 3-day $2.9M (-52%) Total $375.2M /Wk 8
9.) Transformers: Rise of the Beasts (Par) 834 (-1,207) theaters, Fri $311K (-68%) 3-day $1.1M (-67%) Total $155.6M/Wk 7
10.) No Hard Feelings (Sony) 1,017 (-1036) theaters, Fri $345K (-65%) 3-day $1.08M (-67%), Total $49.2M /Wk 5
Friday Miday: Warner Bros.’ Barbie is eyeing $68M-70M today, including last night’s previews, for what’s shaping up to be the best opening of the year with $150M at 4,243 theaters. That would beat the 3-day of Super Mario Bros‘ $146.3M. Some rivals see higher like $165M-$170M but it’s still early and everyone is getting excited. Remember, female skewing movies are very front-loaded (remember a movie called Twilight?).
Universal’s Oppenheimer is certainly not getting scraps: It’s headed for $32M today, including previews, and a $75M 3-day at 3,610 theaters. That’s higher than Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny‘s $60.3M start. Wow.
Do your math, the two titles are fueling $225M alone this weekend.
So far, Paramount’s Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning despite shedding Imax, isn’t taking a horrible hit, -54% in weekend 2 with $25M with a $124.2M running total. Friday is looking like $6.6M.
Angel Studios’ Sound of Freedom at 3,285 is resilient as well with an amazing $20M, -26%, weekend 3 and running total of $124.6M. Disney’s Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is fifth with an estimated fourth weekend of $7M, -43% and running cume by Sunday of $159.3M.
UPDATED after Thursday exclusive: Warner Bros has made it official that Barbie has collected the best previews of not only this summer but all of 2023 with $22.3M, which bests Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3‘s $17.5M. It’s a great weekend for the house of Zaslav in the wake of The Flash stumbling last month. All eyes are on the Warner Bros Discovery share price which as of this post is around $13.02 (-0.7%).
Meanwhile, Universal says Oppenheimer did $10.5M at 3,150 theaters.
Barbie’s cash includes the $1.1M from Wednesday previews at 500 locations. Even if you take those out, Thursday’s $21.2M are still the best of 2023. In all, Thursday previews were booked at 3,400 locations.
We had said from the beginning that Barbie was ahead of Diseny’s The Little Mermaid in presales — well, she’s double what the fish brought in, which was $10.3M (translating into a $96M 3-day). Early Rotten Tomatoes audiences scores show 90% for Barbie and 94% for Oppenheimer. Early PostTrak shows 4½ stars for Barbie and a 79% definite recommend. 82% were general audiences, with 11% kids under 12 and parents repping 7%. A massive 71% female. Broken down, that’s 30% women over 25, 41% women under 25, 14% men over 25, and 16% men under 25. Parents gave it 4½ stars, with moms showing up at 79%. Kids under 12 gave the same grade, with 88% girls under 12 giving pic a 92%. The Boxoffice Company also is noting a higher rate of tickets per transaction — with some theater chains reporting an average of three tickets per purchase for Barbie — than they would normally see for a comedy, indicating healthy group sales.
Oppenheimer‘s preview gross, as we told you last night, is in the range of superhero films and blockbusters like It Chapter Two, which also posted a Thursday of $10.5M from showtimes that began at 5 p.m., a $37M Friday and wound up doing a $91M opening. However, preview math isn’t dollar-for-dollar in 3-day projections. No one is seeing Oppenheimer heatseeking past that threshold yet, with comps right now pegged to the older-guy stuff like John Wick: Chapter Four ($8.9M, $29.4M Friday, $73.8M 3-day). However, as of last night, we can’t call Oppenheimer older dude, as the 18-34 moviegoing crowd showed up at 66% for the 3-hour pic.
It earned a solid five stars from moviegoers Thursday night for the ensemble pic led by Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr, Florence Pugh and Josh Hartnett. Guys dominated overall at 65%. Broken down there were 40% men over 25, 24% men under 25, 19% women over 25, and 16% women under 25.
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As we told you, Oppenheimer is ahead of the $5.5M previews of Dunkirk, and duly note that the footprint of PLFs is greater now than it was back in 2017.
How is last week’s champ Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One doing in the midst of the Barbenheimer box office atom bomb? Well, the pic’s nine-day gross stands at an estimated $99.2M at 4,327 theaters. Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny‘s nine-day was $113.5M. Note that Indy launched on a Friday, while Mission was a Wednesday. The Cruise sequel will keep some PLFs this weekend but hand over Imax to Oppenheimer, which will own them for three weeks. Again, it’s all about foreign for the Cruise pic; the feature cost around the same $300M as Indy. If Cruise can pull off a second-weekend decline of 50% ($27.3M) against Barbenheimer, that’s amazing. However, losing the big screens puts the odds against it. Mission: Impossible – Fallout launched in late-July 2018 and relished a second weekend that was only down 42%.
RELATED: ‘Sound Of Freedom’: Jim Caviezel Anti-Child-Trafficking Thriller Rings Past $100M At Box Office
Early AM estimates show Sound of Freedom winning Thursday over Dead Reckoning, $3.6M (-23% from Wednesday) to $3.4M (-27%) and that’s off pure Comscore estimates (that excludes crowdfunding juicing from the Jim Caviezel movie). Sound of Freedom‘s running total is $104.5M in Week 2. Dial of Destiny was third on Thursday with $1.36M, -14% from Wednesday for a third week of $18.9M, running total of $152.3M. Sony/Blumhouse’s Insidious: The Red Door ends Week 2 with $19.4M and running total of $64.4M. Thursday was $1.2M at 3,188, -21% from Wednesday. Disney/Pixar’s Elemental booked at 3,235 ends week 5 with $14.8M, a running total of $131.4M and a Thursday of $1.16M, -16%.
PREVIOUS EXCLUSIVE: The box office event of the year which has Warner Bros. mass female attraction, Barbie, and Universal’s Christopher Nolan directed, Oppenheimer, has officially fired off its confetti guns with the movies seeing respectively an estimated $20M and $9M+ from their previews. Again, these numbers could fluctuate by morning.
Even if Barbie falls short of $20M, she’s bound to post the best previews of this summer; Disney’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 having grossed $17.5M on its Thursday night (which included $400K Imax showtimes on Wednesday). The Greta Gerwig directed feature take on the Mattel doll has previews which will include the Wednesday “Barbie Blowout Parties” at 500 sites as well as money from showtimes which began tonight at 3,400 locations at 3PM.
The R-rated 3-hour Oppenheimer started showtimes today at 5PM. Barbie will play in 4,200 theaters by Friday, while Oppenheimer, juiced by Imax, will count 3,600 theaters.
It’s an understatement to say that projections are bullish. Barbie presales are the best the industry has seen since Avatar: The Way of Water according to the Box Office Company, rivals confident the film will clear $100M-$130M. Ditto for Oppenheimer tipping the scale past $50M+; all-in-all the third time this year the entire weekend should total around $200M for all films. Critics love both films with Barbie at 89% certified fresh and Oppenheimer at 93% certified fresh.
Sizing up Barbie: That preview figure is bigger than other female skewing pics like Beauty and the Beast ($16.3M Thursday, $63.7M Friday and $174.7M 3-day), near Hunger Games ($19.7M Thursday, $67.2M Friday and $152.5M 3-day), and below 2009’s Twilight Saga: New Moon ($26.3M Thursday, $72.7M Friday and $142.8M 3-day.
Oppenheimer decimates the previews of Nolan’s Dunkirk‘s ($5.5M Thursday, $19.7M Friday, $50.5M 3-day), and is in the neighborhood of such fanboys films like Doctor Strange, Eternals, Logan and Shang-Chi. As a very talky adult drama, Oppenheimer is breaking the mold as far as comps go. Dunkirk wasn’t frontloaded, its Thursday repping 28% of Friday. Back out Thursday and Friday grossed $14.2M with Saturday up 23% with $17.5M. The question is whether Oppenheimer follows the path of a fanboy film, like the R-rated Logan which at 2 hours and 17 minutes which had a $9.5M Thursday, $33M Friday and $88.4M 3-day. A fun weekend is in store.
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