“Barbenheimer” is finally here.
The biggest box office battle in years has begun, with Warner Bros.’ “Barbie” making $22.3 million at the domestic box office in Thursday previews. Universal’s “Oppenheimer” made $10.5 million in previews.
The “Barbie” preview haul is the biggest of the summer box office, beating the previous best of $17.5 million from “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.”
“Barbenheimer” won’t be much of a showdown, however, as Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie’s “Barbie” is expected to have a huge debut of well over $100 million in its opening weekend — with some estimates as high as $140 million, thanks to its massive marketing efforts. The large preview gross suggests the opening weekend may be closer to the high-end of projections.
Christopher Nolan and Cillian Murphy’s “Oppenheimer” is estimated to open with $50 million, still a worthy second place.
Both films stand to spin a nice profit during their runs; “Barbie” had a budget of $145 million and “Oppenheimer” was $100 million. The real winners are, of course, theater owners and the approximately 200,000 “Barbenheimer” fans who booked same-day, double screenings of the films across the country.
Both movies are about globally recognizable figures (one, the creator of the atomic bomb, and the other, the most popular toy doll ever) and boast large, star-studded casts. In “Barbie,” Robbie brings the doll to life and travels from Barbie-Land to Earth with Ryan Gosling as her Ken. The cast also includes Issa Rae, America Ferrera, Kate McKinnon, Michael Cera, Simu Liu, Helen Mirren, Will Ferrell and many more.
“Oppenheimer,” on the other hand, traces the life and career of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the father of the atomic bomb, across several decades. Nolan recruited his frequent collaborator Murphy as the distinctive historical figure, and the cast features Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr., Florence Pugh, Casey Affleck, Josh Hartnett, Benny Safdie, Kenneth Branagh, Rami Malek and many, many more.
Last weekend’s box office champion, Tom Cruise’s “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One,” will have to settle for third place. It’s expected to gain $28 million to $30 million in its second weekend.
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