‘Barbie’ makes history with $1 billion at the box office globally
“Barbie” has answered the billion-dollar question with a resounding “yes.” Just three weeks after it opened, Greta Gerwig’s blockbuster has raked in an astounding $1.03 billion, according to Warner Bros. With this movie, Gerwig becomes the first solo female director to have a billion-dollar film.
As a member of the viral “Barbenheimer” phenomenon, it’s no surprise that “Barbie” has done well. It is unsurprising that the doll has achieved such success on her own two feet.
Comscore’s senior media analyst, Paul Dergarabedian, said, “I’ve been in this business for 30 years, and Barbie and Barbenheimer are unprecedented and unpredictable.”
A billion-dollar film is one of about 50 in history that hasn’t been adjusted for inflation, according to Dergarabedian.
“Barbie’s” marketing campaign was the firstmovie would be a box office smash, he said. The marketing campaign for ‘Barbie’ set into motion a chain of events that led to the word ‘Barbenheimer’ being added to the popular lexicon because of its shared release date with ‘Oppenheimer,’ and that was when we knew something very special and unique was going to create a much bigger than expected outcome for the film not just for its opening weekend, but also for the film’s global run in theaters.”
During a meeting with studios last month, Margot Robbie – who produced and plays the titular character in the movie – shared a premonition.
” I told them they would make a billion dollars, but we had a movie to make! ” she said.
“Barbie” was distributed by Warner Bros., which is owned by parent company Warner Bros. Discovery.
Its global success was driven by box office sales in some of the world’s largest movie markets, including the United Kingdom, Mexico and Australia. The movie has been the No. 1 release in these markets every weekend since its release, according to tracking site Box Office Mojo.
“Barbie” also performed well in China, the second-largest market in the world and one that has becoming increasingly insular over the past few years. According to experts, franchise films like “Transformers,” “Fast and Furious,” and Marvel’s superhero movies tend to perform well with Chinese audiences. While “Barbie” is similar to “Transformers” in that it’s based on an existing toy, it’s “not an IP that generations of Chinese have grown up with, so you lack the intergenerational appeal that a film like ‘Barbie’ has in the United States,” said Michael Berry, director of UCLA’s Center for Chinese Studies.
But Berry, who researches Chinese cinema and pop culture, says Barbie is still iconic around the world, giving the movie a solid springboard for international acclaim.
“Children in hundreds of countries… have grown up with the dolls, her imagery… (but) the film exploits that name-recognition in a very savvy way by playing into both the Barbie lovers and Barbie haters,” he said. “The film is also able to deftly walk a tightrope that appeals to both naïve and wide-eyed eight-year-old dreamers, who approach the film on one level, and adult audiences, who are able to interpret the film on an entirely different level, full of irony, humor, sexual innuendos, and allegory.”