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‘Barbenheimer’ is a billion-dollar win for the global box office

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Movie posters for Barbie and Oppenheimer are pictured outside of the Cinemark Somerdale 16 and XD in Somerdale, New Jersey, 2023.
Hannah Beier | The Washington Post | Getty Images

“Barbenheimer” remains red-hot at the box office.

The combined force of Warner Bros.’ “Barbie” and Universal’s “Oppenheimer” has led to more than $1.1 billion in global ticket sales since July 21.

Domestically, “Barbenheimer” saw smaller-than-average second week ticket sales drops as millions of moviegoers headed to cinemas to catch the popular flicks. In fact, both films’ ticket sales fell just 43% from their opening weekends.

Typically, blockbuster features will see ticket sales fall between 50% and 70% after the debut weekend. Second week numbers are often looked at by box office analysts as an indicator of whether a film will have longevity at the box office or will fizzle quickly. The smaller the drop, the better.

“‘Barbenheimer’ will go down as one of the most notable and unforeseeable milestones in the history of cinema not just for what it means to the bottom-line box office dollars for the industry but also as a cultural event centered around moviegoing,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore.

Over the weekend, “Barbie” added $93 million, bringing its domestic haul to $351 million. The Greta Gerwig and Mattel collaboration for Warner Bros. is nearing $800 million worldwide and could become the second billion-dollar film of 2023.

Universal‘s “Oppenheimer,” meanwhile, tallied another $46.7 million over the weekend. Its domestic gross now stands at $175 million. Globally, it’s generated $405 million.

“For a domestic summer marketplace desperately in need of a box office boost, the July 21 simultaneous theatrical debuts of ‘Barbie’ and ‘Oppenheimer’ set off a chain reaction of overall box office that has infused the all-important season with nearly three quarters of a billion dollars of bonus cash,” Dergarabedian said.

Heading into “Barbenheimer’s” first weekend, the summer box office, which runs from the first weekend in May through Labor Day, was down around 7% compared to 2022. Two weeks later, it’s up 9%, according to data from Comscore.

Similarly, the confluence of these two films boosted the overall domestic box office compared with last year’s haul to this point. Prior to “Barbenheimer,” ticket sales were up 12%. Two weeks later, they were up 20%.

The overall domestic box office still lags behind prepandemic levels by around 16%, however. And prospects for catching up are dwindling as studios have started to move big releases to next year as Hollywood digs in for drawn-out writers’ and actors’ strikes.

Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC. NBCUniversal is the distributor of “Oppenheimer.”

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