Barbie vs Oppenheimer: Record breaking weekend for cinemas - but which one made more on opening weekend?

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Barbenheimer cements itself as the movie event of the year and becomes the fourth-biggest box office opening weekend ever

Barbenheimer is finally here and has proven its more than just an internet phenomenon as the event becomes an industry-revitalizing showdown making it the fourth-biggest opening weekend of all time. The simultaneous release of Barbie and Oppenheimer has seen the biggest weekend for UK cinemas since before the pandemic.

The weekend saw millions of fans across the world hit the cinemas for the double bill showing of the films of the summer. The Barbenheimer event smashed multiple records with Barbie nabbing the best opening weekend of 2023 as well as the best opening for a non-superhero, non-sequel, non-remake title and Oppenheimer nabbing Nolan’s best opening for a non-Batman movie.

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In total, the cinema chain Vue had more than 4,000 sell-out sessions across the country during the weekend. Vue said it was the second biggest weekend for the chain in history, behind only the release of Avengers: Endgame in 2019.

Tim Richards, chief executive and founder of Vue International, said: “Vue saw its highest weekend admissions since Avengers: Endgame in 2019 with the release of Barbie and Oppenheimer, proving that when the movies are there, our customers will come to watch them on the big screen.

“Barbie is tracking to become the biggest film of 2023 and has a good chance of getting into the Top 10 highest grossing films of all time. It is an incredibly exciting moment for the industry, and we expect this trend to continue for the coming weeks.”

National Association of Theatre Owners President and CEO Michael O’Leary released a statement celebrating the astonishing weekend at the box office, saying: "This was a phenomenal experience for people who love movies on the big screen. It was a truly historic weekend and continues the positive box office momentum of 2023. More importantly, it proves once again that America loves going to the movies to see great films.

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“People recognized that something special was happening and they wanted to be a part of it. Our partners in the creative community and at the studios gave audiences two uniquely different, smart and original stories that were meant for the big screen and movie lovers responded by gathering friends and family and heading to their local movie houses across the nation. The men and women who operate our theatres also responded by creating promotions and unique events to further enhance the moviegoing experience for enthusiastic movie lovers. This weekend is a shining example of how there is simply no substitute for seeing a motion picture in the cinema."

Barbie sees Margot Robbie in the titular role alongside a star studded cast that includes Ryan Gosling as Ken, Simu Liu, Dua Lipa, John Cena and many more. The Greta Gerwig directed adaptation will see the iconic Mattel doll venture into the ‘real world’ and embark on a journey of self discovery.

Ryan Gosling and Margot Robbie at the Barbie European Premiere at Cineworld Leicester Square on July 12, 2023. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)Ryan Gosling and Margot Robbie at the Barbie European Premiere at Cineworld Leicester Square on July 12, 2023. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)
Ryan Gosling and Margot Robbie at the Barbie European Premiere at Cineworld Leicester Square on July 12, 2023. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

Christopher Nolan directs Oppenheimer which also boasts a star-studded cast that sees Cillian Murphy take on the titular role in the biopic. The thriller portrays the story of J. Robert Oppenheimer who was the brains behind the first nuclear weapons during World War II. Oppenheimer is credited as the ‘father of the atomic bomb’ for his role in the Manhattan Project. The film also includes Emily Blunt, Florence Pugh and Robert Downey Jr.

So, which film made more money? Here’s everything you need to know.

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Barbie vs Oppenheimer: which made more money?

Greta Gerwig’s Barbie made £12.69m in the UK across Friday and Saturday, while Nolan’s Oppenheimer had reported takings of £7.26m, according to provisional data. In the US, Barbie landed the biggest debut of the year with $155 million. Oppenheimer amassed $80.5 million for its opening weekend.

On the huge release, Jeff Goldstein, the president of domestic distribution at Warner Bros said: “We have a pink unicorn here. We thought it would be $75 million for the opening weekend. Nobody saw $155 million coming. This doll has long legs.” At the international box office, the film added $182 million for a stunning global tally of $337 million.

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