“Barbie” Reigns Supreme in 2023 After Passing Another Milestone
It was only a matter of time before Barbie officially became the highest-grossing movie of 2023. Co-writer/director Greta Gerwig’s pink-hued colossus of a film did just that this past Labor Day Weekend, strutting past the animated blockbuster The Super Mario Bros. Movie and claiming 2023’s top spot for itself.
It’s yet another astonishing feat in a summer of them for Gerwig’s spirited, soul-searching mega-hit, which centered on a seemingly perfect Barbie (Margot Robbie) suddenly finding herself plagued by thoughts of death and then, even worse, flat feet. These twin disasters lead Barbie on a voyage into the real world—thanks to a little guidance from Weird Barbie (Kate McKinnon), where she and Ken (Ryan Gosling) discover that their idealized Barbie Land is a pale echo of the gnarly, oft-cruel reality faced by the kids (and adults) who play with their namesake dolls.
Barbie has now made $600 million at the domestic box office and $1.38 billion worldwide. It’s not only the biggest hit of the year, it’s also the highest-grossing film in Warner Bros.’ 100-year history, having passed Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.
Gerwig’s gargantuan success with Barbie meant that the film also passed another legendary Warner Bros. title, Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, yet the two filmmakers are linked as well by co-delivering the Barbenheimer phenomenon. Nolan’s brilliant Oppenheimer debuted on the same day as Barbie, July 21, and both films did something astonishing this summer—they became massive blockbusters without being part of an existing franchise. Nolan’s three-hour biopic about J. Robert Oppenheimer (Cillian Murphy), the father of the atomic bomb, is hardly the usual fare that dominates the summer box office, yet Oppenheimer has been a massive success, earning more than $300 million domestically and over $850 million worldwide. It’s Nolan’s third biggest film ever, behind only The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises.
So Barbie reigns supreme in 2023, while Nolan’s masterpiece outperformed even the most optimistic of projections. Two deeply original filmmakers delivered deeply personal, almost comically disparate films (on the same day!), and audiences rewarded their passion.
For more on Barbie, check out these stories:
Featured image: Caption: MARGOT ROBBIE as Barbie in Warner Bros. Pictures’ “BARBIE,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Photo Credit: Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures