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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Louis Chilton

Barbie smashes The Dark Knight’s 15-year-old box office record

Warner Bros

Barbie has beaten a box office record held by Christopher Nolan’s 2008 superhero blockbuster The Dark Knight.

Greta Gerwig’s comedy-drama film, adapted from the popular Mattel toy franchise, was released in cinemas last Friday (21 July). It premiered on the same day as Nolan’s latest film Oppenheimer, with the two films enjoying a joint publicity storm referred to as “Barbenheimer”.

As reported by Variety, Barbie took in $26m (£20m) at the US box office on Monday (24 July).

The figure constitutes the highest ever Monday gross for a film released by Warner Bros. The previous record holder was Nolan’s Batman sequel The Dark Knight, which made $24.6m (unadjusted for inflation).

Barbie has already proved a huge financial success for Warner Bros, taking in $162m (£125m) in the US and a total of $337m (£261m) globally over its opening weekend.

The figure represents the biggest opening weekend of the year, beating children’s animation The Super Mario Bros Movie.

Oppenheimer, meanwhile, took less over its opening weekend – $80.5m (£62m) in the US and $174.2m (£135m) globally – but has still been hailed as a hit.

The film follows the life of nuclear scientist J Robert Oppenheimer (Cillian Murphy), often described as the “Father of the Atomic Bomb”.

Oppenheimer enjoyed a near-perfect score on the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, with Barbie scoring slightly lower.

Cillian Murphy as J. Robert Oppenheimer in ‘Oppenheimer’
— (Universal Pictures)

However, The Independent critic Clarisse Loughrey gave Barbie a glowing five-star review, remarking: “Barbie is one of the most inventive, immaculately crafted and surprising mainstream films in recent memory – a testament to what can be achieved within even the deepest bowels of capitalism.

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“It’s timely, too, arriving a week after the creative forces behind these stories began striking for their right to a living wage and the ability to work without the threat of being replaced by an AI. It’s a pink-splattered manifesto to the power of irreplaceable creative labour and imagination.”

The “Barbenheimer” phenomenon appears to have benefited both films at the box office, with Oppenheimer even gaining some ticket sales from sold-out Barbie screenings.

Both films blew past the recent Tom Cruise blockbuster Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One.

In an interview this week, Barbie director Greta Gerwig responded to backlash from a number of right-wing viewers over the film’s feminist content.

Barbie and Oppenheimer are out in cinemas now.

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