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Source: Warner Bros / Universal

‘Barbie’, ‘Oppenheimer’

‘Barbenheimer’ – the twin attack of Warner Bros’ Barbie and Universal’s Oppenheimer – is on track to give North American box office a huge boost as the tentpoles open this weekend after high preview numbers.

Barbie earned an estimated $22.3m in the biggest previews of the year to date (some $1.1m comes from Wednesday screenings), while Oppenheimer brought in $10.5m.

The former is expected to lead the weekend on upwards of $150m according to sources and Oppenheimer is now forecast to earn in the $75m range.

After flops like The Flash and Elemental and the disappointing performance of Indiana Jones And The Dial Of Destiny – even Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning, Part One opened below expectations last weekend although the hope is it will hold well in the coming weeks – Hollywood needs a strong session to get the summer season close to where it was in 2019.

The hope is the two arrivals combined with Mission: Impossible 7 and other holdovers could get weekend box office well past $250m, which would be a major post-pandemic haul. Comscore data shows that 2023 summer is catching up with that of 2019 and latest numbers out today indicate the May 1-July 18 period trails 2019 by 16.1%.

Barbie, which stars Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling and is directed by Greta Gerwig, is playing in more than 3,400 locations. Its Thursday preview numbers put those of recent tentpoles into the shade.

Spider-Man-Across The Spider Verse earned around $17.4m in June, The Little Mermaid took in roughly $10.3m in May, Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3 earned around $17.3m in May, and Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania took $17.5m in February.

Even Avatar: The Way Of Water and Top Gun: Maverick did not come close last year with the former earning $17m in December and Tom Cruise’s 2023 box office champion taking $19.3m in May 2022.

Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer starring Cillian Murphy earned $10.5m from 3,150 theatres via Universal. It will play in 3,600 starting today.