LONDON (Reuters) – “Barbie” grossed an estimated 18.5 million pounds ($23.7 million) and “Oppenheimer” 10.9 million pounds at the UK-Ireland box office at the weekend, Screen International said on Monday – the first time two films opened to over 10 million pounds each.
In a battle dubbed “Barbenheimer” on social media, both movies enjoyed sold-out screenings across the country, with many fans flocking to the big screens dressed in pink to emulate the plastic doll.
The two films have given a much-needed lift to movie theatres after many earlier releases fell flat this year.
Greta Gerwig, who helmed “Barbie”, beat the record for the biggest opening for a film directed by a woman.
“Oppenheimer”, starring Irish actor Cillian Murphy as the American scientist who developed the atomic bomb, also secured director Christopher Nolan’s second-biggest UK opening weekend.
Cinema operator Vue International said it had enjoyed its biggest weekend since “Avengers: Endgame” opened in 2019, with “Barbie” on track to become the biggest film of 2023.
“Barbie”, which stars Margot Robbie, also ruled in U.S. and Canadian theatres, taking an estimated $155 million to set the record for the biggest domestic opening of 2023.
The British Film Institute’s weekend box office figures will be released on Wednesday.
($1 = 0.7793 pounds)
(Reporting by Farouq Suleiman, Editing by Paul Sandle)