Barbie vs. Christopher Nolan Is A $400 Million Battle Where Nobody Can Lose

Battling for the top spot in the box office where an estimated $400 million hangs in the balance is a weekend release feud that neither Barbie nor Oppenheimer can lose. Both blockbuster films are expected to hit theaters on July 21, 2023, making for a much looked-forward-to weekend in cinema. As Greta Gerwig’s Barbie and Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer both make compelling cases for becoming the bigger contender when it comes to winning over weekend revelers, it seems like there won’t be any losers in the grand scheme of feature films.


The Barbie movie will pull audiences in waves, for those who are longtime fans of the Mattel dolls or those who are even the least bit interested in the nostalgic token brand will find a way to see Margot Robbie bring the famous Barbie to life. Crowds interested in Christopher Nolan and if his latest film will be among his greatest will similarly flock to fill the seats of the Oppenheimer movie, Nolan’s first R-rated movie since 2002 about the development of the atomic bomb. With such polarizing subjects, but huge expectations placed on both cinematic productions, it’s tricky to predict which will have the better performing weekend.

Related: Christopher Nolan’s First R-Rating In 21 Years Could Shatter Box Office Battle

Barbie & Oppenheimer Will Both Be Big Box Office Winners (Despite The Rivalry)

Cillian Murphy in Oppenheimer movie

A Barbie versus Oppenheimer rivalry has since been placed in anticipation of the summer 2023 box office, as the respective films each have impressive $100 million budgets and are expected to have amazing receptions. Despite hesitancy to name the box office weekend champion, the amount of money that has and is bound to circulate around Barbie and the Oppenheimer film prophecies that there cannot be a sore loser. One will undoubtedly beat out the other as the better money-making movie, but because both are guaranteed hits, it really comes down to what the films consider commercial success.

Surely, winning 2023’s biggest box office battle is an honor bested only by landing solid wins come award season, but Barbie and Oppenheimer should also consider how their lucrative performance projections make them box office winners in their own right. $100 million budgets coupled with the usual marketing costs that could raise output spending to upwards of $200 million means that Barbie and Oppenheimer need to make a profit of nearly double individually to be considered commercially successful. Judging by what’s thought to come with each movie’s release and the support of marketing elevated by their rivalry, the films are already winners slated to make well above their costs.

Barbie vs. Oppenheimer: Which Movie Will Actually Be Bigger?

Margot Robbie in Barbie

With that being said, it’s always a pleasure to speculate which movie will actually become the bigger hit, especially being a fan of empires such as Barbie or Nolan’s movie universe. Truthfully, the box office winner for that weekend may come down to which movie’s audience has the more dedicated fanbase. But, according to early box office projections, Barbie is expected to sweep Oppenheimer in their opening weekend earning $45-55 million as opposed to the latter film’s projected $30-35 million.

Barbie’s opening weekend predictions trending higher than Oppenheimer’s box office performance makes sense when considering who the movies will be available to. Barbie’s relevance as an homage and satire will attract viewers of all ages and whole families to witness the fun, while Oppenheimer’s R-rating cannot indulge on that opportunity. Regardless of which will profit most, both Barbie and Oppenheimer will be two of 2023’s biggest movies and will join this year’s record of outstanding cinematic endeavors.

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