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Barbie powers past another Christopher Nolan epic to set Warner Bros box office record

‘Barbie’s’ domestic box office takings surpassed original record held by Nolan film

Inga Parkel
Wednesday 16 August 2023 17:50 BST
Barbie teaser trailer

Greta Gerwig’s Barbie shows no signs of stopping its box-office domination – it has now powered past yet another Christopher Nolan epic.

When the Margot Robbie-led comedy-drama about the popular Mattel doll was first released in cinemas alongside Nolan’s biopic epic Oppenheimer, the former quickly surpassed its counterpart at the domestic and international box office.

Barbie has since grossed over $1bn worldwide, making it the highest-grossing release for a female director in history.

Wednesday’s (16 August) figures put Barbie at $537.5m (£421.7m) in domestic box office earnings, officially putting it ahead of Nolan’s 2008 superhero movie The Dark Knight ($536m) and making it the production studio’s highest-grossing domestic release ever.

In the coming days, it will also exceed Universal Pictures’ The Super Mario Bros ($574m) as 2023’s biggest domestic release. And should its box-office reign continue, it won’t be long until its current $1.2bn global takings eclipse Mario ($1.35bn) as the highest-earning worldwide release of the year.

For four consecutive weeks, Barbie has been the No 1 movie. After just 17 days in cinemas, it quickly became the fastest Warner Bros film to join the $1bn club.

Robbie, meanwhile, is expected to earn roughly $50m (£39.4m) in salary and box office bonuses.

‘Barbie’ and ‘The Dark Knight’ (Warner Bros)

With Barbie’s undeniable success, Mattel has announced plans for 17 more films about its other toys, games and brands.

However, in a recent interview, actor Randall Park complained that Hollywood “is taking the wrong lessons” from Barbie’s success.

“For example, Barbie is this massive blockbuster, and the idea is: Make more movies about toys! No. Make more movies by and about women!” the Fresh Off the Boat star remarked.

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Australian actor Robbie, 33, leads Gerwig’s movie as the titular Barbie, who must venture out into the real world to find her true purpose in life. Ryan Gosling plays Barbie’s boyfriend, Ken, while Kate McKinnon, Issa Rae, and Simu Liu feature as other iterations of Ken and Barbie. America Ferrera and Will Ferrell star as humans.

Barbie has wowed audiences and critics alike. At the time of writing, it sits at 88 per cent on the review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes.

The Independent’s Clarisse Loughrey branded it “a near-miraculous achievement from Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie” in her five-star review.

Barbie is out in cinemas now.

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