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‘Barbie’ box office nears $1 billion heading into third weekend

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A scene from the “Barbie” movie.

Courtesy: Warner Bros.

“Barbie” is less than $100 million away from topping $1 billion at the global box office.

Heading into the weekend, the bubblegum pink flick from Warner Bros. Discovery and Mattel has tallied $916.1 million. It’s expected to hit the coveted billion-dollar benchmark before Monday.

“Joining the billion-dollar box office club is a watershed moment for ‘Barbie’ and Greta Gerwig as the latter will become the first solo female director to achieve that feat,” said Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at BoxOffice.com.

Anna Boden, co-director of Disney’s “Captain Marvel,” was the first female director to be attached to a billion-dollar live-action film. “Captain Marvel” reached just shy of $1.13 billion during its theatrical run in 2019, according to data from Comscore.

On the animation side, Jennifer Lee has two billion-dollar features under her belt, having co-directed “Frozen” and “Frozen II” with Chris Buck for Disney.

When “Barbie” tops this mark, it will become the first billion-dollar film to do so for the newly minted Warner Bros. Discovery, which merged in 2022.

“Ultimately, ‘Barbie’ has become a global phenomenon in ways the industry perhaps didn’t see coming as it reignites cultural discussions about femininity,” Robbins said. “It’s launched an iconic brand onto the big screen in a way that fans feel is organic and embraces the right amount of nostalgia to tell a relatable and entertaining story in the modern world.”

The success of “Barbie” comes at a time when studios have struggled to connect with moviegoing audiences. A series of adult-aimed blockbusters have underperformed in recent months, leading many in the industry to question if consumer tastes have shifted away from Hollywood.

“Barbie” shows that moviegoers are still interested in leaving their couches for quality films and unique communal experiences. Movie theaters big and small announced record ticket sales in the month of July as pink-clad audiences packed theaters.

The movie’s financial and cultural success “was the result of a most unusual and unpredictable set of circumstances that combined a great release date, marketing campaign, a fun and irresistible movie theater experience,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore.

Notably, “Barbie’s” marketing was not affected by the ongoing writers and actors strikes, which have shut down Hollywood and prevented stars from promoting their film and TV projects. The film was released one week after the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists initiated its strike and celebrity-based marketing efforts were halted.

Box office analysts don’t expect “Barbie” ticket sales to stall after this weekend, either. The film has limited competition throughout the rest of the summer season and is expected to continue to lure moviegoers to cinemas.

“‘Barbie’ reaching the $1 billion milestone is just another bold step on its ongoing path to even greater success,” said Dergarabedian. “As the film’s popularity and cultural resonance continues to attract moviegoers around the world, so too will its box office fortunes rise to even greater heights in the coming weeks.”

CORRECTION: This article has been updated to show that, on the animation side, Jennifer Lee has two billion-dollar features under her belt, having co-directed “Frozen” and “Frozen II” with Chris Buck for Disney.

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