Normal order has been restored as BARBIE and OPPENHEIMER finished #1 and #2 at the box office this weekend and for the third time in four weeks since their July 21st debut. Last weekend, MEG 2: THE TRENCH staged a brief coup by edging out OPENHEIMER by a razor-thin margin of $900K on a $30M total gross.
By Monday, OPPENHEIMER had taken back second place and has held onto it every day since. The Christopher Nolan-directed drama has become the highest-grossing WWII movie in history. BARBIE and OPPENHEIMER together have grossed $790.6M in 24 days, amounting to a staggering 68% of all movie ticket sales in the U.S. and Canada during that time.
BARBIE grossed an additional $33.7M over the last three days, a drop of only 36% since last weekend, with its domestic run adding up to $526.3M and worldwide at $1.1B. BARBIE has been the top-selling movie every day since it opened, which is the third longest streak of the year behind AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER which was the top movie for six weeks at the beginning of the year, and THE SUPER MARIO BROS. MOVIE held this crown for five weeks over April and May.
Here are some of BARBIE’s records:
- 2nd highest grossing movie for 2023 in the domestic market
- 2nd highest grossing movie for 2023 worldwide
- 2nd highest-grossing movie of all time for Warner Bros.
- 18th highest-grossing movie of all time in the domestic market
- 33rd highest-grossing movie all-time worldwide
Next weekend, BARBIE’s crown may be challenged by a new movie from its own studio, Warner Bros., when the DC superhero movie BLUE BEETLE arrives. WB has more to gain from a successful debut for BLUE BEETLE than from another #1 finish for BARBIE. Still, this summer will be remembered for BARBIE’s success, which should continue to perform through Labor Day.
OPPENHEIMER has also had a record-breaking run, taking second place with an additional $18.8M this weekend, a drop of 35% from last weekend, and a 24-day domestic total of $264.3M. The movie has overcome any hesitancy from moviegoers about seeing an R-rated film, as well as the dark subject of the making of the Atomic Bomb.
Interestingly, it will almost certainly finish its run without ever having taken control of first place. It recently passed the previous holder of this distinction by outgrossing MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING which earned $241.4M domestically during its run in 2002. OPPENHEIMER is currently the 9th highest-grossing picture of R-rated titles and is on track to cross $300M by Labor Day.
After a fourth-place finish in its opening weekend, TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: MUTANT MAYHEM moved up one slot this weekend to third place, earning $15.8M and dropping only 44% from last weekend. It is a positive sign for the longevity of the film that it managed to leap over MEG 2 and hold off any challenge from THE LAST VOYAGE OF THE DEMETER, the only new wide release of the weekend.
After 12 days, TMNT has earned a solid $72.8M and is poised to continue to draw the family audience, since the next major animated movie release will be PAW PATROL: THE MIGHTY MOVIE on September 29th. Paramount is behind both titles and has done well by spacing out their release dates by almost two full months.
MEG 2: THE TRENCH suffered a steep drop of 58% from last weekend’s opening, bringing in only $12.7M. After earning a strong second-place finish last weekend, the sour note from critics may have caught up to this shark and could depress ticket sales going forward. However, international markets may deliver some good news for MEG 2, particularly in China where the film grossed $53M over the three days of its opening last weekend. This compares to a meager response in China for BARBIE, which grossed only $8M three weeks ago in its debut.
The original THE MEG in 2018 earned 72% of its $530.5M in international markets, with a particularly strong return from China. This encouraged its producers at Warner Bros. to maintain the Chinese connection from the original, by casting global action hero Wu Jing to star alongside Jason Statham and to set the action in the South China Sea once again. While profits for MEG 2 will not equal those from THE MEG, solid foreign revenues should produce a good result. However, it is uncertain whether a third MEG movie is justified since interest in the U.S. and Canadian markets seems to be waning.
This week’s only wide opener was Universal’s THE LAST VOYAGE OF THE DEMETER, which finished in a disappointing fifth place with $6.5M. The screenplay is an adaptation of one chapter from Bram Stoker’s 1897 horror classic Dracula, entitled “The Captain’s Log.” The movie itself took a 20-year journey around Hollywood before Universal finally signed on to make it. It tells the story of a doomed merchant ship The Demeter, whose crew struggles to make it through a treacherous ocean voyage while being stalked by Dracula.
By the time the ship arrives off the English coast, The Demeter has been reduced to a charred, derelict with no trace of its crew. In theory, a story about Dracula’s arrival in London by ocean voyage should be interesting, but in practice, the movie seems to have failed to find its audience, with a horrible 38% critics score and 73% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes.
Until three weeks ago, DEMETER was scheduled to open together with Sony’s GRAN TURISMO: BASED ON A TRUE STORY. However, Sony pushed its release date back by two weeks because of the strike by Hollywood’s actors, who were forbidden from promoting the film through press and publicity appearances.
Instead, Sony is trying to build interest by holding two weeks of advanced screenings (a.k.a. “sneaks”) at theatres around the country. It will be interesting to see if this technique creates interest in the film. For now, the vacancy left by GRAN TURISMO does not seem to have helped DEMETER at the box office. With a production budget of $37M, DEMETER still has a long way to go to reach profitability.
All movies playing in theatres this weekend earned $116.6M domestic, compared with $67.9M in the same week last year when BULLET TRAIN led the way with $13.3M in its second weekend.
WHERE ARE WE AS OF 8/10
After 31 weeks, the year-to-date comparison of the current year to last year stands at 123%. The year-to-date results from 2023 are 86% compared to this point in 2019.