Barbie vs. Oppenheimer: Who is winning at the box office?

By Olivia Richman


Jul 24, 2023

Reading time: 3 min

There has been a lot of discourse about Barbieheimer the past month, with people not only talking about having an unlikely movie marathon but debating which film is truly worth your time in the theater. Turns out, both films have exceeded all expectations in their own way.

Barbie and Oppenheimer both came out on the same weekend, so there’s no surprise that people have been comparing the seemingly polar opposite films. Barbie is seen as a movie for the girlies — pink and pop culture with some strong feminist messaging that’s gone above some male audience members’ heads. Oppenheimer has gone over people’s heads in a different way, delivering a complex concept with intense cinematography and mind-blowing explosions.

But Barbie is the winner this past weekend, reaching $155 million in its first three days of domestic ticket sales.

Barbie breaks records on opening weekend

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Barbie had some incredible marketing leading up to its opening weekend, and it paid off. It has become the biggest North American opening for a movie directed by a woman and the biggest debut for a comedy film.

As stated previously, Barbie made $155 million in sales within the first three days. This includes the biggest single-day debut of the year, making $70.5 million between Thursday and Friday alone.

This is incredible since Warner Bros. projected just $75 million for opening weekend. This is probably because most comedies don’t reach such heights, with The New York Times reporting that the previous highest comedy three-day weekend record was just short of $86 million.

Oppenheimer has explosive opening weekend

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While Barbie may have won in ticket sales, Oppenheimer also had massive success this past weekend. The three-hour drama doubled its projected performance, raking in $80.5 million despite a predicted $40 million by Universal Studios.

Oppenheimer has now become the film with the second-highest opening for a non-franchise, R-rated movie, only beaten by The Passion of the Christ back in 2004. It’s also the third-biggest opening for a biographical film in North America.

Oppenheimer’s length also played a part in its loss to Barbie. Sitting for a three-hour movie is not doable for everyone. But it’s now the seventh-biggest opening for a film longer than 165 minutes.

Barbieheimer wins at the box office

With Barbie being a seemingly girly film with its pink color scheme and silly humor and Oppenheimer being a serious biopic about regretting the creation of the most destructive weapon in history, it’s easy to see why both movies are being compared against one another so heavily.

But the truth is, both movies needed one another.

Together, Barbie and Oppenheimer created the biggest three-day opening weekend post-pandemic, bringing people to the theater in massive droves. It’s also the fourth-biggest movie weekend ever, almost competing with Marvel movies from their glory days. It was the top-selling box office weekend, not counting established franchises like Marvel.

If you haven’t gone to the theater to see either movie just yet, we recommend watching both. But you may not want to watch both in one day unless you are craving a nearly six-hour emotional rollercoaster that makes you question humanity throughout.


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