‘Barbie’ shatters 2023 records with a staggering $70.5M debut, ‘Oppenheimer’ also hits high marks

This blockbuster weekend has Hollywood buzzing as Warner Bros.’ ‘Barbie’ and Universal’s ‘Oppenheimer’ fuel a jaw-dropping $300M+ box office run. It’s a real cause for celebration amidst fears of Q3 and Q4 2023 release schedules collapsing due to the simultaneous SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes.

The domestic box office is reveling in its biggest weekend post-pandemic, surpassing the total amassed when ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ debuted over Dec. 17-19, 2021. This weekend’s record-breaking haul puts it fourth in the all-time list of biggest box office weekends.

‘Barbie’ is doing more than just living in a dream house. With an estimated $150M+ for the three-day weekend, it’s on track to claim 2023’s biggest opening weekend to date. ‘Oppenheimer,’ on the other hand, is making heads turn with a projected $77M 3-day gross, an astonishing feat for a 3-hour adult drama.

The success of ‘Barbie’ and ‘Oppenheimer’ sends a clear message to major studios – it’s time to get back to the negotiating table with SAG-AFTRA. With the industry having barely recovered from Covid closures, it would be a catastrophe to destabilize the ecosystem again.

Warner Bros Discovery, despite recent missteps with DC Studios’ ‘Shazam: Fury of the Gods’ and ‘The Flash,’ is soaring high with ‘Barbie.’ The film has become a pop culture phenomenon, thanks to an innovative social media campaign that allowed fans to insert their photos into the Barbie logo. The result? Fans are dressing up as Barbie and flocking to the theaters.

‘Barbie’ also set records for presales in the studio’s history, outdoing previous records set by Margot Robbie (‘Suicide Squad’) and Ryan Gosling (‘Blade Runner 2049’). The movie’s strong female appeal has it outperforming popular titles such as ‘Hunger Games,’ ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ and ‘Twilight Saga: Eclipse.’

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Meanwhile, Christopher Nolan’s ‘Oppenheimer’ is performing impressively, thanks in part to the director’s dedicated fanbase from his ‘Dark Knight’ days. It boasts the best opening for an R-rated movie this year, beating ‘John Wick: Chapter 4.’

It’s been a truly remarkable weekend at the box office, and with fan excitement at an all-time high, there’s no telling just how far these films will go. One thing’s for sure, though – this success represents a beacon of hope for an industry that desperately needs it.

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