Barbie Film Tops $1bn Mark at Global Box Office

The Barbie film has hit the billion-dollar mark just 17 days after it was released, according to distributor Warner Bros. The BBC is reporting that the movie will finish the weekend with $1.03bn (£808m) in ticket sales at the global box office, it said in a statement on Sunday. It means Greta Gerwig has become the first woman to reach the milestone as a solo director.

Warner Bros described it as a “watershed moment”. Jeff Goldstein, president of domestic distribution in the US, said: “No-one but Greta Gerwig could have brought this cross-generational icon and her world to life in such a funny, emotional and entertaining story… literally turning the entire world pink.”

He said that long lines in cinemas and repeat viewings “prove that movies are back” after the cinema industry suffered due to pandemic lockdowns and competition from streamers.

Other female directors have helmed films that have surpassed the $1bn-mark but working with others. Frozen, the animated blockbuster, and its sequel have generated more than $1.4bn in box office takings and were co-directed by Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck.

Meanwhile, Captain Marvel, starring Brie Larson and co-directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, generated more than $1.1bn in takings.

The pink-hued film has received praise from critics and inspired scores of selfies at doll boxes installed in cinemas across the UK too. Starring Margot Robbie as Barbie and Ryan Gosling as Ken, it has drawn in $459m so far in the US and $572m internationally.

Achieving “Barbillion” – as described by Warner Bros – is no mean feat. Just five other films have done so since the pandemic, including The Super Mario Brothers Movie earlier this year, Spider-Man: No Way Home, Top Gun: Maverick, Jurassic World Dominion and the Avatar sequel.

Cinema-goers have often paired a viewing of Barbie, which tells a coming-of-age story of the iconic doll, with Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer – a story about the development of the first atomic bomb.

UK-based cinema chain Vue recently said both films had led to the firm seeing its busiest weekend in four years.

Ms Robbie also served as one of the producers on Barbie. According to an interview with Collider, she banked on making a billion dollars in early meetings. “I think I told them that it’d make a billion dollars, which maybe I was overselling, but we had a movie to make, okay?!” she told the publication.

The film’s marketing campaign has been huge, with pink billboards installed in cities around the world while a pink Tardis also appeared at Tower Bridge.

Toy-maker Mattel is hoping to repeat the same success with other films. Other Mattel brands – including Barney, Hot Wheels and Polly Pocket – are set to feature in upcoming Hollywood movies.

It released a soundtrack album and entered into more than 165 consumer product partnerships for the Barbie film, although it recently reported that its sales fell by 12% for the three months to end of June.

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