Barbie Presales The Best Since Avatar: The Way Of Water

By Phillip Moyer | Updated

ryan gosling barbie

Box Office returns are getting harder and harder to predict these days. After the superhero genre dominated the box office for two years in a row, audiences have stopped showing up for most tales of costumed crimefighters, choosing instead to watch movies about mermaids, blue aliens, and Italian plumbers.

It looks like we’re set to add movies about dolls to that list since Deadline reports that the Barbie film has the most ticket presales since James Cameron’s Avatar: The Way of Water was set to appear in theaters. 

Barbie has the most ticket presales of any film since Avatar: The Way of Water, beating out 2023’s only billion dollar movie to date, The Super Mario Bros. Movie.

According to the article, the National Association of Theatre Owners has reported that millions of moviegoers are set to see Barbie in theaters this weekend. Estimates now say that Barbie might take in as much as $130 million on its opening weekend — approaching the $134 million earned by the Avatar sequel on the weekend of December 16.

While being the top-earning film in eight months might not seem like a huge accomplishment, it pays to note that Avatar: The Way of Water is the third-highest-grossing movie ever released.

According to the report, about 200,000 people who are set to see Barbie have also bought tickets to see another completely-unrelated movie: Christopher Nolan‘s Oppenheimer.

margot robbie
Margot Robbie in Barbie

The biopic about the physicist who has been called the father of the atomic bomb is also expected to be a big earner this weekend, though not to the degree seen by Barbie or Avatar 2. With both major films releasing, theaters are expected to take in more than $200 million across the country this weekend, marking only the third time that has happened this year.

The absurdist, satirical Barbie film holds little in common with the Avatar sequel, whose box office magic it may just repeat.

The absurdist, satirical Barbie film holds little in common with the Avatar sequel, whose box office magic it may just repeat.

Rather than being a CGI-Heavy sci-fi epic, the film — written and directed by Lady Bird and Mistress America creator Greta Gerwig — follows the famous Mattel doll and her boyfriend Ken in what’s been called a subversive, satirical comedy that pokes fun not only Mattel’s top-selling brand but also at society at large.

The movie stars Margot Robbie as Barbie, who lives in an idyllic world alongside Barbie (played by Emma Mackey), Barbie (played by Hari Nef), Barbie (played by Nicola Coughlan), Barbie (played by Dua Lipa), Barbie (played by Kate McKinnon) Barbie (played by Alexandra Shipp), and Barbie (played by Ritu Arya).

Ryan Gosling plays Ken, who is not to be confused with John Cena‘s Ken, Simu Liu’s Ken, or Kingsley Ben-Adir’s Ken. Michael Cera plays Allan.

Will Ferrell in Barbie

Thematically, Barbie has more in common with The Lego Movie than Avatar: The Way of Water, including Will Ferrell as a villanious CEO.

Yes, Barbie‘s tongue-in-cheek premise has more in common with 2014’s The Lego Movie than the box office-dominating Avatar: The Way of Water. Helping this comparison is the presence of Will Ferrel as the CEO of Mattel — a role that will no doubt remind moviegoers about how he appeared unexpectedly in The Lego Movie as the father who wanted to keep his son from playing with his Legos.

However, The Lego Movie only made about $70 million on its opening weekend — Barbie looks to make nearly double that.