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‘Barbie’ and ‘Oppenheimer’ to Ignite Summer Box Office in Historic Showdown



It’s Barbenheimer to the rescue.

Hollywood could use some good news, not to mention a distraction, amid the ongoing writers and actors strikes. The two summer event pics Barbie and Oppenheimer should deliver just that when opening in theaters this weekend.

Filmmaker Greta Gerwig’s Barbie — the long-gestating movie about the world’s most iconic fashion doll — is tracking to open to as much as $90 million to $110 million domestically, a huge sum for a female-skewing event movie, according to one Hollywood analytics firm. It would also be one of the top openings of the summer season.

Warner Bros. is being more conservative in suggesting $75 million for Barbie (the studio’s caution is understandable considering tracking has been off as of late).

Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer is pacing to open to $49 million, says a source who has access to tracking data (Universal is hoping for $40 million or more). The three-hour movie chronicles the career of J. Robert Oppenheimer, who is considered the father of the atomic bomb. Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt and Matt Damon lead the star-studded cast.

No one could have predicted that Barbie and Oppenheimer would be at the center of this summer’s most interesting showdown at the multiplex, considering they couldn’t be more different in tone and scope.

Yet thousands of moviegoers appear to be intrigued by the pairing and say they plan on treating themselves to a double feature and watching both movies on the big screen. AMC Theatres, the country’s largest circuit, says 40,000 of its loyal Stubs customers are now planning on seeing the films back to back (a week ago, that number was only 20,000).

The summer box office could use a lift after several big-budget misses, including The Flash (Warner Bros./DC Studios), Elemental (Disney/Pixar) and Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (Disney/Lucasfilm). And last weekend, Tom Cruise-starrer Mission: Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part One fell short of tracking projections when posting a five-day debut of $78.5 million, versus $90 million-plus.

In the run-up to M: I 7Cruise urged his fans via a social media post to support all July movies, such as Barbie and Oppenheimer. Gerwig and Barbie star Margot Robbie returned the favor and urged moviegoers to spread the wealth around.

It remains to be seen how much Mission: Impossible 7 drops in its second weekend. The filmmakers are hoping for $27 million to $28 million, but the movie is losing Imax screens to Oppenheimeras well as some premium large format screens to both Oppenheimer and Barbie.

Oppenheimer and Barbie Stars were largely able to complete their publicity duties before the SAG-AFTRA strike began last week. Upcoming summer films will find themselves in a bind, however, since actors aren’t allowed to promote their movies in any fashion, including walking the red carpet or attending a film festival.

Barbie‘s production price tag was $145 million or more before marketing. Oppenheimer cost a reported $100 million.

Both films are also opening overseas this weekend.

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