For the last few years movies have been in peril. The pandemic shut theaters down, and they’re still not fully back to before-time levels. Warner Bros. Discovery, under the leadership of David Zaslav, has cancelled nearly completed films and put cinema history at risk. There’s a two-pronged strike that may last for several more months. Movies need a win, and this weekend they’re getting one.
As per Deadline, the phenomenon known as “Barbenheimer” descended upon the multiplex this weekend, and sure enough, the two very different films are commanding jaw-dropping numbers. Barbie — a very PG-13 take on the doll line whose feminist bona fides are predictably enraging conservatives — is set to make $150 million+. Meanwhile, Oppenheimer — a three-hour panic attack about the inventor of the atomic bomb — is poised to Hoover up $77 million. (Note: Oppenheimer making half of Barbie’s haul can be partly attributed to its length and its R rating.) Combined, that’s an estimated $308 million, just in domestic tallies alone.
It’s not just that these two films, which have inspired many to do a very odd double bill, are making tons of dough. It’s that they’re both non-franchise films, released at a time when franchise films have been underperforming if not outright tanking. Perhaps execs, when they’ve finally worked out deals with their writers and actors, will take note. For now, though, it’s clear a ton of people took Tom Cruise’s advice.