‘Haunted Mansion’ Spooked, ‘Barbie’ Scores Record $93M Second Weekend

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Barbie really is a pink unicorn.

The movie earned an estimated $93 million in its sophomore outing at the North American box office — one of the best second weekends of all time and the best second weekend ever for Warner Bros., not adjusted for inflation.

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The female-fueled Barbie, which continues to shatter any and all expectations, finished Sunday with a domestic cume of $351.4 million. Detractors had predicted it would fade away quickly after a history-making debut over the July 21-23 weekend, but that isn’t the case. The Greta Gerwig-directed film fell a scant 43 percent, a rare hold for a pic originally opening to such a big number at $162 million.

Barbie continues to paint the overseas box office pink as well for a dreamy global total north of $750 million through Sunday as it fast approaches the $1 billion mark. It will be only the second pic of 2023 so far to join the box office billion-dollar club after Universal’s The Super Mario Bros. Movie, which grossed $92.3 million in its second weekend on its way to topping out at $1.34 billion worldwide.

Other stats: Barbie enjoyed the biggest first week in Warner Bros. history at the box office, outpacing Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight.

Not that Nolan needs to fret. His Universal movie Oppenheimer — the other half of the Barbenheimer effect — is also a box office force of nature that is holding up incredibly well in its sophomore outing. The three-hour biographical drama grossed an estimated $46.2 million this weekend, a mere 44 percent drop and the biggest second weekend ever for an R-rated pic ahead of Deadpool 2‘s $43.5 million, not adjusted for inflation.

Oppenheimer finish the weekend with an estimated global haul of $400.4 million, including $174.6 million domestically and $226.3 million at the foreign box office, to rank as the filmmaker’s sixth-biggest film of all time ahead of Tenet and Batman Begins. Overseas, it is already Nolan’s biggest film ever in 28 markets and his biggest non-superhero title in 39. The weekend’s overseas tally was another $72.4 million.

Nolan’s movie about J. Robert Oppenheimer, considered the father of the atomic bomb, is a boon for Imax (Nolan used special Imax cameras). Oppenheimer is the second-fastest film to hit $80 million in global Imax ticket sales and, on Sunday, the large-format exhibitor announced it is extending the film’s run through the weekend of Aug. 11-13. That’s not be the biggest surprise after Sony delayed the nationwide release of Gran Turismo by two weeks because of the SAG-AFTRA strike.

Elsewhere, Haunted Mansion was spooked in its debut in another big-budget summer miss for Disney. The live-action family pic opened to an estimated $24.2 million, one of the lowest starts ever among Disney’s live-action reimaginings of theme park attractions or classic animated films. Heading into the weekend, tracking suggested an already-subdued $30 million launch.

In addition to going up against Barbenheimer, Haunted Mansion was also challenged by mediocre reviews and the struggling family marketplace. The star-packed cast was also unable to do publicity and press in the final two weeks before the film’s launch because of the actors strike, including staying away from the movie’s Disneyland premiere on July 15.

Disney is hopeful that good audience exit scores on PostTrak and a B+ CinemaScore will make up for any deficits and provide the film with long legs, just as Pixar’s summer film Elemental has enjoyed an enviable multiple after a soft start (Elemental cleared the $400 million mark this weekend at the global box office). The problem: both films were pricey to make, putting increased pressure on their box office performance. Haunted Mansion cost at least $150 million to produce before marketing. Elemental was more, or $200 million.

Director Justin Simien’s Haunted Mansion, which turns Disneyland’s iconic attraction into a supernatural horror-comedy, stars Rosario Dawson, LaKeith Stanfield, Tiffany Haddish, Owen Wilson, Chase W. Dillon, Daniel Levy, Jamie Lee Curtis, Jared Leto and Danny DeVito.

Overseas, Haunted Mansion grossed $9.1 million from 53 territories representing about 50 percent of the marketplace for a global bow of $33.3 million.

Angel Studios’ sleeper summer hit Sound of Freedom continued to hold at third place behind Barbie and Oppenheimer with another $12.4 million for a stunning domestic sum of $149 million, more than a slew of major studio summer tentpoles.

Paramount’s Tom Cruise tentpole Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One, which is losing hope of rebounding from Barbenheimer, placed fifth ahead of A24’s new specialty horror film Talk to Me with $10.7 million for a domestic total of $139.2 million. MI7 continues to hold up better overseas, where it cleared the $300 million mark over the weekend after earning another $31.7 million. The pic’s global total through Sunday is $448.5 million.

From Australian twin brothers and filmmakers Danny and Michael Philippou of RackaRacka YouTube channel fame, Talk to Me opened to a better-than-expected $10 million. The indie horror film, acquired out of Sundance, had been eyeing a $4 million to $5 million start. Its early performance is another win for A24, home of Oscar winner Everything Everywhere All at Once, although opening a specialty film nationwide and sustaining momentum is a always a challenge.

More to come.

July 30, 7:20 a.m.: Updated with revised weekend estimates.

This story was originally published July 29 at 8:10 am.

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