Theaters witness renewed interest in 2023 with Barbenheimer success

Theater  — In the box office, Marvel and Disney’s audience focus has altered. While the entertainment behemoth has had an overwhelming grip on the film industry for more than ten years, two films have emerged victorious, unleashing excitement and passion not seen in a long time.

Barbie and Oppenheimer dominated the internet in the weeks that came before their debuts, and once the films were released to theaters, they quickly became the queen and king of cinema. They have so much power that they have an effect on the box office, raking in big sums.

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Barbeinheimer on its second week

On social media months earlier, the double bill of Greta Gerwig and Christopher Nolan’s films received the nickname “Barbenheimer” and quickly gained traction. And, as it enters its second weekend, the films have met (if not gone beyond) everyone’s expectations.

“Weekend two proves the outpouring of interest in ‘Barbie’ and ‘Oppenheimer’ a week ago was not a fluke,” said Comscore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian.

“Both films put up second weekend numbers that would have been considered solid as debuts and reflect two of the best sophomore session holds in box office history.”

Barbie has remained popular, with domestic screenings making $93 million. It grossed over $122 million worldwide, catapulting the film to the top of the box office.

The movie, which is featuring Margot Robbie, set a new domestic second weekend record for Warner Bros.

Meanwhile, Oppenheimer continued to outperform. Cillian Murphy’s picture made $46 million in the United States, according to Comscore. As a consequence, Oppenheimer has earned more than $500 million.

Universal predicted that the film will be Christopher Nolan’s most successful non-superhero film in forty different nations. It is also projected to be his most successful film in 28 nations.

The amount of money Barbenheimer makes demonstrates that there is renewed energy, excitement, and appetite for the movie theater experience in the aftermath of the Covid outbreak, which prompted several companies to shift to streaming alternatives.

“Barbenheimer was never going to happen on your TV,” said National Association of Theater Owners president and CEO Michael O’Leary.

“You have to go into the theater to experience it.”

A rejuvenated box office and lively theaters

While the attention surrounding Barbenheimer has greatly increased profits, repeat viewings have also contributed to box office profits.

According to B&B Screens, a theater company based in the Midwest, around 2,100 people saw Barbie during the preceding two weekends, whereas 500 people saw Oppenheimer throughout its 55 locations.

The majority of people associate Hollywood with the film industry. The United States has traditionally had a robust movie theater culture, according to O’Leary.

Following the pandemic’s destruction of theaters and public screenings, he argues that people are ready to have an immersive experience in a theater with an exceptional projection system and surround-sound system.

According to O’Leary, Barbie and Oppenheimer will only encourage more people to keep attending to the theaters by demonstrating how amazing the theatrical experience can be.

“It’s a reawakening,” he added.

“At their core, consumers want to go see a compelling story, they want to be entertained,” explained O’Leary. “If stories resonate with people… they tell other people.”


The public’s reaction to Barbie and Oppenheimer has been mostly positive, but specialists have found one big stumbling block. As the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes continue, the monetary benefits are being overshadowed.

“There’s pressure to resolve (these labor disputes) because the possibility of revenue is built on the foundation of having movies and actors to promote them,” explained Dergarabedian.

“For now we have high-profile films, but that pool will be drying out.”

Furthermore, the production standstill created by the studios’ inability to collaborate is having a domino effect, potentially delaying the release dates of other projects. According to Shawn Robbins, chief analyst of Boxoffice Pro, theater chains will need to keep a “weather eye on the horizon for problems beyond their control” in the last few months of 2023 and throughout 2024.

“While it’s important to celebrate the good times right now and realize they can be a barometer for the future, it’s just as important to recognize the fight for equality by so many who play a part in creating the content we see on our screens, large and small,” Robbins added.