reta Gerwig broke the female director's box office record with "Barbie Doll."
"Barbie Doll" not only broke the first-weekend box office record of 2023 but also shattered the record for the highest-grossing opening weekend for a female-directed film. According to Monday's studio total, "Barbie Doll" earned $162 million in box office revenue in North American theaters, surpassing the premieres of "Captain Marvel" and "Wonder Woman" co-directed by Anna Boden in 2019, which grossed $153.4 million and $103.3 million, respectively. The film's production cost was reported to be $145 million, which is also lower than "Captain Marvel" ($152 million) and "Wonder Woman" ($200 million).
Globally, the film's international premiere surpassed "Wonder Woman" with $337 million, while "Captain Marvel" had a global opening of $228.3 million. However, "Captain Marvel" still holds the higher global box office at $455 million. "Barbie Doll" exceeded Sunday's estimates by $7 million in its domestic opening weekend, which is significant because 65% of its audience comprises women. This itself is not surprising, but in terms of box office history, films that gross over $100 million tend to have predominantly male audiences (including "Captain Marvel" and "Wonder Woman"). Many have pointed out that this might not be a rule, but rather a lack of big-budget productions and marketing targeted at female audiences.
"Barbie Doll" also secured the third-highest July opening weekend of all time, surpassing Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight" and "The Dark Knight Rises" (not accounting for inflation), trailing only behind the live-action "The Lion King" and "The Dark Knight Rises." "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" tops the list.
Greta Gerwig co-wrote and directed "Barbie Doll," aiming to be the first of many successful derivative works inspired by Mattel's iconic doll. In just one weekend, the film's domestic box office surpassed her previous two movies, "Little Women" ($108.1 million) and "Lady Bird" ($49 million). In 2018, Gerwig made history as the fifth woman to be nominated for Best Director at the Oscars (for "Lady Bird"). As of 2023, a total of seven women have been nominated for this award, and some have already predicted Gerwig's chances of receiving another nomination at next year's ceremony.
The success of "Barbie Doll" and Gerwig's achievement have been widely celebrated online, prompting many in Hollywood to pause and reflect on this moment. Reese Witherspoon posted, "Well done, GG!" on Instagram, and director Ry Russo-Young wrote that "Barbie Doll" and its success have become a faint beacon of hope amidst strikes and extensive shutdowns.