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‘Barbie’ stays atop ‘hill of cash’ at box office

By AFP - Aug 01,2023 - Last updated at Aug 01,2023

LOS ANGELES — Warner Bros.’ blockbuster “Barbie” earned an estimated $93 million in North American theatres this weekend as it continued “rolling down a hill of cash”, industry watcher Exhibitor Relations reported on Sunday.

Taken together with Universal’s dark biopic “Oppenheimer”, which took in a mighty $46.2 million in its own second weekend out, the two films provided a much-needed “Barbenheimer” boost during a middling Hollywood summer.

“July would have been a lukewarm month, but then ‘Barbie’ and ‘Oppenheimer’ arrived, moviegoing exploded, and within one week, July caught up to its pre-pandemic average,” said analyst David A. Gross of Franchise Entertainment Research.

Last weekend, “Barbie” scored the biggest opening weekend of the year, at $80.5 million, showing eyebrow-raising appeal for a movie based on a small plastic doll living in a perfect pink world. 

With Margot Robbie as “Barbie” and Ryan Gosling as boyfriend “Ken”, the Greta Gerwig film has now generated $351.4 million in North American ticket sales, along with $423 million abroad, likely setting it on track to be the next billion-dollar flick.

“Oppenheimer” also showed exceptional strength for a historical drama, with its second-weekend result — like that of “Barbie” — among the best in box-office history, said analyst Paul Dergarabedian. The story of the creation of America’s atomic bomb has now earned $174.1 million domestically and $226 million abroad.

In third for the weekend was a new Disney release, “Haunted Mansion”, at $24.2 million. Disney spent $150 million to produce the kid-centric film so it has a way to go to reach profitability, according to Variety. The movie stars LaKeith Stanfield, Tiffany Haddish and Owen Wilson.

Fourth spot went to the independent “Sound of Freedom”, from Santa Fe Films and Angel Studios, at $12.4 million. The low-budget action thriller has sparked controversy, with critics saying its story about child sex trafficking plays into Qanon conspiracy theories.

And hanging steady at fifth was Paramount’s “Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One”. This latest in the popular Tom Cruise series took in $10.7 million, meaning all of the top five films scored in the double-digit millions.

Rounding out the top 10 were “Talk to Me” ($10 million), “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” ($4 million), “Elemental” ($3.4 million), “Insidious: The Red Door” ($3.2 million) and “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” ($1.4 million).

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