NEW YORK (AP) — The video game adaptation eclipses Greta Gerwig’s pop sensation, while “Gran Turismo: Based on a True Story” and “Barbie” are in a tight race for the box office crown, according to studio estimates Sunday.
Sony Pictures reported that “Gran Turismo” opened with $17.3 million over the weekend, while Warner Bros. He estimated that “Barbie” grossed $17.1 million in its sixth week. These totals are subject to change when counting the last ticket sales on Monday.
Because of a few wrinkles, “Barbie” is almost certain to sell more tickets Friday to Sunday than any other movie, even if “Gran Turismo” deserves the checker flag.
One reason: it was a regular weekend at the multiplexes. US movie theaters held their second annual National Movie Day on Sunday, with $4 tickets distributed to all movies and showtimes at nearly every movie theater in the country.
“Barbie” was expected to be the top hit during the sale day, with a special boost from repeat views. With a total domestic ticket sales of 594.8 million dollars, “Barbie”, “Super Mario Bros. Movie” ($574 million) to become the biggest domestic hit of the year. With $1.34 billion worldwide, “Barbie” will soon surpass the worldwide leader “Mario” with $1.35 million.
National Cinema Day aims to attract moviegoers to theaters during a typically slow period and make up for lost ticket revenue by selling plenty of popcorn. Last year’s event attracted 8.1 million moviegoers, making it the busiest day of the year in cinemas. Warner Bros. estimated that “Barbie” would gross $7.8 million on Sunday, meaning almost 2 million viewers watched the movie that day.
So what was the most watched movie in theaters this weekend?
“Barbie,” says Jeff Goldstein, Warner Bros.’s distribution chief. “There is no doubt.”
Although “Barbie” is the highlight of the weekend, “Gran Turismo” has a slight and somewhat controversial advantage in gross earnings. Sony also factored into the weekend totals for “Gran Turismo” $3.9 million from preview screenings before Thursday and $1.4 million from Thursday previews. While this type of accounting is common practice in Hollywood, the opening broadened the definition of “weekend.”
“We made it a big deal because ‘Barbie’ has incredible footholds,” says Goldstein. “Taking away the number one spot that has remained at number one for five weekends since its opening just doesn’t feel quite right for the ‘Barbie’ filmmakers who really deserve the credit.”
Sony executives declined to comment.
Either way, it’s such a start for “Gran Turismo,” which cost around $60 million to make. However, the movie, about a young man whose love of the PlayStation video game turns him into a real-life racer, was well received by the audience. Moviegoers gave the movie directed by Neill Blomkamp an “A” Cinema Score.
The ongoing strike of actors and screenwriters has taken away studios’ ability to promote films with their cast. Sony held preview screenings and fan events for several weeks to help promote “Gran Turismo.”
“Obviously every movie is trying to be the number one movie,” says Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at data firm Comscore. “But at the end of the day, ‘Barbie’ is a world-class blockbuster, a total blockbuster movie. No matter how you cut it, ‘Barbie’ will always be the winner, no matter the outcome of this weekend. With no stars to promote the movie, Sony had to rely on the audience to be the voice of the marketing.”
Last week’s most-watched movie, DC Comics’ “Blue Beetle,” dropped to third place with $12.8 million in its second week. Warner Bros. The film grossed $46.3 million in two weeks, a new setback for DC.
Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” took fourth place in its sixth week with $9 million. Like its sibling in “Barbenheimer,” the Universal Pictures movie performed far beyond the point where most movies fail in theaters. While “Oppenheimer” exceeded $300 million domestically, it reached $777.1 million worldwide.
A handful of new movies have also been released in theaters. MGM’s high school comedy “Bottoms” got off to a strong start with limited releases, grossing an average of $51,600 per location in 10 theaters. Liam Neeson’s thriller “Retribution” opened in 1,750 theaters for $3.3 million for Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions.
The sports drama “The Hill,” starring Dennis Quaid, grossed $2.5 million from 1,570 locations for Briarcliff and Open Road. “Golda,” played by former Israeli prime minister Helen Mirren, was screened at 883 cinemas on Bleecker Street for $2 million.
According to Comscore, the North American box office is just $70 million away from surpassing $4 billion for the summer. “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” spurred a comeback, after a tumultuous season where some major productions such as “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny”, “The Flash” and “Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part One” failed to live up to expectations. If the box office manages to hit $4 billion in the summer, it will be the first time since 2019.
Estimated ticket sales in US and Canadian theaters Friday through Sunday, according to Comscore. Final domestic figures will be released on Monday.
1. “Gran Turismo: Based on a True Story,” $17.3 million.
2. “Barbie”, $17.1 million.
3. “The Blue Bug”, $12.8 million.
4. “Oppenheimer”, $9 million.
5. “Young Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem,” $6.1 million.
6. “Meg 2: The Trench”, $5.1 million.
7. “The Strays”, $4.7 million.
8. “Revenge,” $3.3 million.
9. “The Peak”, $2.5 million.
10. “Haunted Mansion,” $2.1 million.