With the SAG-AFTRA strike already causing many high-profile movies to be delayed, Barbenheimer may be the last significant box office hit for a while. The good news about the event is that both films are holding spectacularly in their second weekend, already setting records for second-week drops. They will also leave over the next few weeks when the anticipation and hype run strong. IMAX also had to expand its 70mm run for Oppenheimer, with many showtimes selling out until the end of August!!!
Some moviegoers are even trying secure tickets for the IMAX 70mm showings of the film on eBay. When was the last time this happened? I don’t think Interstellar had this going for it, especially after it was released. Even director Francis Ford Coppola weighed in on the phenomenon on Instagram Storie, stating that he had yet to see both films, but “the fact that people are filling big theaters to see them and that they are neither sequels nor prequels, no number attached to them, meaning they are true one-offs, is a victory for cinema.”
Barbie and Oppenheimer respectively grossed $93 million and $46.2 million this weekend. Moreover, Greta Gerwig’s film passed the $700 million mark and is on track to be the second movie to reach over $1 billion at the global box office this year, with The Super Mario Bros. Movie. Funnily enough, the only movies that had a better second weekend than Barbie are all franchise movies.
It is indeed a “victory for cinema” that will hopefully lead studios to return to the bargaining table and pay their creatives what they want. The theatrical industry is still fragile, slowly recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, and studios seem to want to sacrifice this recovery because they’re refusing to pay their creatives. Without writers, you’ve got nothing. Without actors, you have less than nothing. What happens to movie studios without theatres? I’ll let you answer that on your own.
In other box office-related news, A24’s Talk To Me is doing relatively well, already outgrossing its $4.5 million budget with a $10 million opening. Another victory for A24, but most importantly, for original horror. Independent cinema will likely thrive during the strike, and A24’s social media campaigns have always been well-positioned to generate audience interest since the studio’s inception. Talk To Me has been a festival darling since it premiered at Sundance, and it looks like it’ll leg out in the next few weeks to be one of the most profitable independent films of the year.
Finally, we have our first strike casualty, with Disney’s Haunted Mansion bombing at the box office with a meager $24 million tally over a $150 million budget. Of course, some will argue that releasing a Halloween-themed movie in July was a terrible idea, but the movie also suffered from a limited promotional campaign and a “premiere.” Instead of paying their writers and actors fairly, Disney had its world premiere of Haunted Mansion at Disneyland with mascots in attendance. It was quite embarrassing.
Here is the full list of the top ten films of the weekend:
- Barbie (Warner Bros): $93.0M (-42.6%) – 4,337 theatres
- Oppenheimer (Universal): $46.2M (-44%) – 3,647 theatres
- Haunted Mansion (Disney): $24.2M – 3,740 theatres
- Sound of Freedom (Angel Studios): $12.4M (-37.4%) – 3,411 theatres
- Mission: Impossible Dead Reckoning – Part One (Paramount): $10.7M (-44.6%) – 3,191 theatres
- Talk to Me (A24): $10.0M – 2,340 theatres
- Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (Disney): $4.0M (-40.1%) – 2,165 theatres
- Elemental (Disney): $3.4M (-40.6%) – 2,105 theatres
- Insidious: The Red Door (Sony): $3.1M (-52.1%) – 1,914 theatres
- Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (Sony/Marvel): $1.4M (-50.1%) – 833 theatres
Source: Box Office Mojo