‘Barbie’ didn’t just break the 2023 opening weekend record. It also broke the weekend record for the first time for a film directed by a woman.
With $162 million in ticket sales from North American theaters, according to the studio’s tally on Monday, “Barbie” surpassed both Anna Boden’s “Captain Marvel,” which premiered in 2019 at $153.4 million, and Patty Jenkins’ 2017 film “Wonder Woman,” which premiered at $103.3 million. Boasting a reported $145 million price tag, “Barbie” was cheaper to make than “Captain Marvel” ($152 million) and “Wonder Woman” ($200 million).
Globally, Wonder Woman’s debut was $228.3 million, while it was well above $337 million, while Captain Marvel’s worldwide release surpassed it with $455 million.
The debut of “Barbie” was significant in that 65% of the audience was female, which in itself isn’t surprising, but box office history has shown that movies with grosses over $100 million tend to have a male audience (including both “Captain Marvel” and “Wonder Woman”). As many have pointed out, this is probably more due to the lack of blockbuster movies being made and promoted with blockbuster female audiences in mind than it is to rules.
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Gerwig co-wrote and directed “Barbie,” which was to be the first of many Mattel-inspired spin-offs. And in just one week, it has already surpassed her previous two domestic box office hits, “Little Women” ($108.1 million) and “Lady Bird” ($49 million).
Now the question is how high Barbie can reach and whether it can surpass other top female-directed films. To reach the No. 1 spot in North America, “Barbie” would have to earn more than $477.4 million from “Frozen 2,” co-directed by Jennifer Lee. “Captain Marvel” came in second with $426.8 million.
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