‘Barbie’ & ‘Oppenheimer’ Box Office Mania Begins: Doll Eyes Around $20M, Nolan Epic $9M In Previews

EXCLUSIVE: The box office event of the year which has Warner Bros. mass female attraction, Barbie, and Universal’s Christopher Nolan directed, Oppenheimer, has officially fired off its confetti guns with the movies seeing respectively an estimated $20M and $9M+ from their previews. Again, these numbers could fluctuate by morning.

Even if Barbie falls short of $20M, she’s bound to post the best previews of this summer; Disney’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 having grossed $17.5M on its Thursday night (which included $400K Imax showtimes on Wednesday). The Greta Gerwig directed feature take on the Mattel doll has previews which will include the Wednesday “Barbie Blowout Parties” at 500 sites as well as money from showtimes which began tonight at 3,400 locations at 3PM.

The R-rated 3-hour Oppenheimer started showtimes today at 5PM. Barbie will play in 4,200 theaters by Friday, while Oppenheimer, juiced by Imax, will count 3,600 theaters.

It’s an understatement to say that projections are bullish. Barbie presales are the best the industry has seen since Avatar: The Way of Water according to the Box Office Company, rivals confident the film will clear $100M-$130M. Ditto for Oppenheimer tipping the scale past $50M+; all-in-all the third time this year the entire weekend should total around $200M for all films. Critics love both films with Barbie at 89% certified fresh and Oppenheimer at 93% certified fresh.

Sizing up Barbie: That preview figure is bigger than other female skewing pics like Beauty and the Beast ($16.3M Thursday, $63.7M Friday and $174.7M 3-day), near Hunger Games ($19.7M Thursday, $67.2M Friday and $152.5M 3-day), and below 2009’s Twilight Saga: New Moon ($26.3M Thursday, $72.7M Friday and $142.8M 3-day.

Oppenheimer decimates the previews of Nolan’s Dunkirk‘s ($5.5M Thursday, $19.7M Friday, $50.5M 3-day), and is in the neighborhood of such fanboys films like Doctor Strange, Eternals, Logan and Shang-Chi. As a very talky adult drama, Oppenheimer is breaking the mold as far as comps go. Dunkirk wasn’t frontloaded, its Thursday repping 28% of Friday. Back out Thursday and Friday grossed $14.2M with Saturday up 23% with $17.5M. The question is whether Oppenheimer follows the path of a fanboy film, like the R-rated Logan which at 2 hours and 17 minutes which had a $9.5M Thursday, $33M Friday and $88.4M 3-day. A fun weekend is in store.

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