Early box office predictions have Greta Gerwig’s upcoming comedy Barbie outperforming Christopher Nolan’s epic drama Oppenheimer. The Barbie movie, starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, features an ensemble cast and is based on the iconic Mattel fashion doll, while Nolan’s biographical thriller, starring Cillian Murphy and Emily Blunt, will explore the creation of the atomic bomb. Both movies are due to be released on July 21, each with a reported production budget of $100 million, and they are expected to battle it out for box office supremacy this summer.


Initially, it was expected that Oppenheimer would be the clear winner, but, after languishing for years in development hell, the Barbie movie has become a social media phenomenon in recent months, fueling speculation that it will rival Nolan’s three-hour epic. Indeed, according to reports from THR, basic tracking estimates Warner Bros.’ Barbie will open ahead of Universal’s Oppenheimer in its opening weekend. Currently, no concrete figures have been provided, so these projections could shift as these releases get closer.

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Related: Why Barbie Will Beat Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer At The Box Office

Barbie Vs. Oppenheimer – The Box Office Battle Hollywood Has Been Missing

Custom image of Margot Robbie in Barbie and Cillian Murphy in Oppenheimer.

Nolan’s first R-rated movie since Insomnia will be released in various formats, including IMAX 70 mm, and it will be important for the movie to have legs and perform well long-term. As for Barbie, it is likely Warner Bros. hopes for an impressive opening weekend to give the movie momentum for the coming weeks. Though the two movies are vastly different, many have pitted them against each other, giving Hollywood a summer blockbuster battle it hasn’t seen for a long time.

The clashing dates are also no coincidence, as it seems Warner’s decision to give Barbie the same release date as Oppenheimer was an intentional move. Some rumors suggest that the decision was made after Nolan departed Warner Bros. for Universal following a falling out with the company, and it is believed Barbie‘s date was done as a “middle finger” of sorts to the British director and Universal. Whether this proves to be a sensible move or a disastrous one will only become clear once the box office fates of both movies are revealed.

In recent years, studios have tended to deliberately avoid clashing with other big releases as much as possible in order to ensure the best theatrical run possible, even going as far as changing release dates by a week or two to keep movies off the same weekend. That makes this one of the biggest and most exciting potential box office battles in a good while, and even though Warner Bros. apparently wants Nolan back, they will be hoping Barbie can outperform Oppenheimer to secure a strong box office run.

Source: THR

Key Release Dates

  • Barbie Movie Poster

  • Oppenheimer Poster

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