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‘Barbie’ to top $1 billion at the global box office Sunday

Barbie The Movie

Courtesy: Warner Bros. 

“Barbie” is expected to join the billion-dollar club Sunday.

The bubblegum pink flick from Warner Bros. Discovery and Mattel will top $1 billion in global ticket sales, before the end of the weekend, according to estimates from the studio. Final numbers will be released Monday.

Only around 50 other films have reached this benchmark.

“In this march past the billion-dollar threshold, ‘Barbie’ joins what has become an increasingly exclusive club over the past couple of years,” said Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at BoxOffice.com. “That’s especially true for auteur filmmaker Greta Gerwig becoming the first solo female director to helm a billion-dollar grosser.”

Gerwig joins Anna Boden, co-director of Disney’s “Captain Marvel,” as the only two women to helm a billion-dollar film. “Captain Marvel” reached just shy of $1.13 billion during its theatrical run in 2019, according to data from Comscore.

This also marks the first billion-dollar film for the newly minted Warner Bros. Discovery, which merged in 2022, and only the second movie released in 2023 to do so. Universal’s “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” has topped $1.3 billion since its April debut.

“This monumental box office achievement for ‘Barbie’ shows what is possible when all of the elements of filmmaking, marketing, distribution, fan engagement and movie theater presentation work in harmony,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst from Comscore. “And a sprinkling of ‘Barbenheimer’ magic certainly didn’t hurt either.”

The success of “Barbie” comes at a time when blockbuster-budgeted films have struggled to connect with moviegoing audiences. Nostalgia bait flicks like Disney’s “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” as well as sequels for Paramount’s Mission Impossible series and Universal’s Fast and Furious franchise failed to lure in audiences. Each film tallied less than $200 million in domestic box office receipts.

“Barbie” shows that moviegoers are still interested in leaving their couches for quality films and unique communal experiences. Movie theaters big and small announced record ticket sales in the month of July as pink-clad audiences packed theaters.

“The box office powerhouse isn’t done yet as the coming weeks offer little in the way of direct competition, giving ‘Barbie’ plenty of runway to continue building on this success,” Robbins said.

Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC.

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