As billion-dollar movies come, up until this year, Warner Bros. Pictures had just five of them. That’s a nice middle-of-the-road number considering Paramount Pictures has four and Universal Pictures has nine. It’s nothing compared to Disney’s whopping 25, but a massive accomplishment all the same. Thanks to Greta Gerwig’s global sensation Barbie, the studio can now tack an extra tally to that count, and not just at the end of the stack, but at the front.
At the time of this writing, Barbie is sitting on a sizable $526.3 million fortune at the domestic box office and an extra $657.6 million at the international box office. That’s $1.18 billion worldwide, which puts it just $128 million away from toppling one of the most cherished fantasy films of all time that Waner Bros. has been beholden to for 12 years.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 debuted in theaters on July 15, 2011, to rapt attention from virtually every breathing person on the planet. The epic conclusion to J.K. Rowling’s sprawling fantasy took 19 days to cross the billion-dollar threshold. Barbie took just 17.
Indeed, the list of records Barbie has broken since its release continues to unfurl like a red carpet: the biggest opening of 2023, the biggest opening for a toy-based movie, and the biggest opening from a female director. The list goes on and on. Now, it’s just mere dollars away from becoming Warner Bros. highest-grossing movie of all time, knocking The Boy Who Lived from the top spot.
Mattel’s success in adapting its popular plastic doll into a global box office phenomenon has birthed the frightening reality of yet more adaptations of popular toys. Although, if the endeavor’s mere foundation is to simply make a flashy cinematic universe of popular toys, then Mattell (and Hollywood) has sorely missed the message embedded in the pink blockbuster that ultimately carried it to the finish line.
Should Mattel hope to attach its brand to the tally of another studio’s billion-dollar hits, it’d be wise to sit at the chalkboard as long as necessary lest it discovers it, too, has flat feet. Former billion-dollar blockbusters for Warner Bros. Pictures include The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey ($1.017 billion), Joker ($1.074 billion), The Dark Knight Rises ($1.081 billion), Aquaman ($1.141 billion), and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II ($1.342 billion).
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