For quite some time, it seemed that 2023 was the year of the box office flop, with major studio films such as Shazam: Fury of the Gods, 65, Beau is Afraid, and The Flash each crashing and burning, losing millions for their respective studios. Of course, thanks to the incredible filmmaking of auteur directors such as Christopher Nolan and Greta Gerwig, and the hyper-viral ‘Barbenheimer’ movement, Oppenheimer and Barbie have proven that well-crafted films can still perform incredibly well in theaters. According to a write-up in Deadline, Oppenheimer has surpassed $600 million at the box office.
Christopher Nolan already has the year’s biggest R-rated movie, with Oppenheimer taking only 23 days to surpass $600 million at the box office.
Christopher Nolan’s latest masterpiece, Oppenheimer, surpassed the impressive benchmark after only 23 days in theaters, with numbers still pouring in from markets around the globe. According to the latest figures, Vietnam, Italy, China, and Korea have yet to announce their box office earnings for the film, meaning the true number is likely much larger than the current estimated figure of $600 million.
After recently surpassing Christopher Nolan’s previous outing, Dunkirk, Oppenheimer has rapidly become Nolan’s highest-grossing film in a number of international markets. According to the most recent figures, the film is Nolan’s number-one film of all time in 47 countries, in addition to being his best outside of the Batman franchise for 61 countries. With many fans still making their pilgrimage to the theaters to catch the Barbenheimer double feature, these numbers are only expected to grow in the coming weeks.
Christopher Nolan’s shocking success with Oppenheimer is in stark contrast to several other films which floundered at the box office in the past several months. Most notably, The Flash, is set to lose Warner Brothers over $200 million when accounting for the cost of production and promotion, leaving some to call the superhero jaunt the biggest box office bomb of all time.
Christopher Nolan is one of the few directors that can sell a film on his name alone, and the success of Oppenheimer only adds to his growing legend.
Meanwhile, Greta Gerwig’s Barbie, which was released on the same day as Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer, has surpassed the $1 billion watermark, making the film one of only 53 to ever accomplish such a feat. While both movies were certainly assisted by the viral campaign to catch them as a double feature, the films were individually projected to do well long before the Barbenheimer concept catapulted them both into the shared limelight.
Obviously, neither Christopher Nolan nor Greta Gerwig initially planned for their films to be released at the same time, making the thematic and aesthetic juxtapositions between Barbie and Oppenheimer ripe for jokes and memes across social media. However, after seeing the financial success this trend brought along with it, studios are already trying to ride this trend, intentionally releasing seemingly polar opposite films in tandem in order to recreate the Barbenheimer magic.
Christopher Nolan and Greta Gerwig have propelled Oppenheimer and Barbie into the record books, saving the year from being dominated by flops.
While it’s not likely that the trend will ever work quite as harmoniously as it seems to have here, Christopher Nolan and Greta Gerwig have certainly lucked out in this regard. Of course, both Oppenheimer and Barbie speak for themselves as stunning achievements in both the artistic and technical elements of filmmaking, marking them both with excellent success sure to keep them in our cultural lexicon for years to come.