Greta Gerwig Makes Box Office History as ‘Barbie’ Scores Biggest Opening Weekend Ever for Female Director

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Three cheers for Director Barbie.

Greta Gerwig cemented box office history as her cotton candy-colored blockbuster “Barbie” scored a massive $155 million in its opening weekend, marking the biggest debut ever for a film directed by a woman.

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“Captain Marvel,” which was co-directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, previously held the title after earning $153 million in 2019. “Wonder Woman,” from filmmaker Patty Jenkins, stood as the record-holder for a movie solely directed by a woman with its $103 million debut in 2017.

“Barbie” has notched several other box office records, including the biggest opening weekend of the year — besting “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” ($146 million).

And thanks to the phenomenon of “Barbenheimer” — hundreds of thousands of moviegoers opted to watch double features of “Barbie” and Christopher Nolan’s historical drama “Oppenheimer,” which opened to a remarkable $80.5 million — it was not only the largest overall box office weekend since the pandemic, but it was also the fourth-biggest collective weekend of all time.

It’s worth noting the top three overall weekends in history were led by the debuts of sequels in massive franchises: “Avengers: Endgame” ($402 million collectively in April 2019), “Avengers: Infinity War” ($314 million collectively in April 2018) and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” ($313 million collectively in December 2015).

“‘Barbie’ has exploded into a zeitgeist film,” says David A. Gross, who runs the movie consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research. “This is genuine excitement, not the manufactured kind. Moviegoers are making it their own.”

The movie has been embraced by critics (it holds a 90% on Rotten Tomatoes) and audiences (it landed an “A” CinemaScore). Initial crowds were 65% female, which is notable because men usually account for similar audience majority when any movie generates over $100 million in its debut.

“Barbie” cost $145 million, not including a marketing campaign that propelled the movie into the mainstream long before it landed in theaters. Gerwig, the Oscar-nominated director of “Lady Bird” and “Little Women,” co-wrote the film’s screenplay with Noah Baumbach.

Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling star as the stereotypical versions of Barbie and Ken, who leave the world of Barbieland on a quest for self-discovery in the real world. The cast also includes Issa Rae, Dua Lipa, Simu Liu, Michael Cera, Helen Mirren, John Cena and Will Ferrell.

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