• Tue. Feb 27th, 2024
Barbie, Oppenheimer smash hit, audiences send message to Hollywood: Give us something new |  Hollywood News

In Barbie and Oppenheimer’s big movie weekend, there were several winners. Greta Gerwig is a star who created history for female directors. Christopher Nolan, forging a non-Batman career. Movie theaters busier than post-pandemic. Lovers of unlikely double features. Pink color. Twenty matches.

But originality was one of the most important successes of the film “Barbenheimer” in the monsoon. Here are two movies that aren’t sequels or reboots that are pushing the box office to heights not seen in years. Barbie and Oppenheimer became a memory because of their world-different differences, but they were each the work of those filmmakers.

Barbie, based on the Mattel doll, had some very well-known intellectual property. J. The story of Robert Oppenheimer and the atomic bomb comes from small moments in history. Nolan is also a brand.

But what propelled Hollywood’s biggest era over the years was a pair of films without Roman numerals, Jedi, or superheroes. At the same time, some of the most reliable franchises in movies, from Marvel to “Fast and Furious,” no longer lead the pack.

The movie business may change. Audiences are enjoying something new. “Barbenheimer” was, perhaps, a turning point.

“I always joke that if one Tornado movie works, there will be three Tornado movies the next year. “There’s an inherent bias in doing what works,” says IMAX Chief Executive Richard Gelfond. “I hope these movies are real, by famous filmmakers, and will push studios to lean in that direction instead of doing what’s safe.

“The numbers don’t lie,” added Gelfond.

And the figures are eye-popping. The box office total for the weekend in US and Canadian theaters was over $300 million, the fourth highest of all time. Warner Bros.’ Barbie earned $162 million domestically, the best opening of the year. Universal’s Oppenheimer earned $82.4 million. Those results, along with critical acclaim and months of a viral double-feature drumbeat, redoubled expectations and wowed Hollywood.

In the wake of “Barbenheimer,” many hope Hollywood will learn a lesson by pouring out more toy adaptations and the inevitable “Barbie” sequel.

“Everyone came out this weekend for two original, great, quality movies,” Claire Binns, managing director of indie distributor Picturehouse, wrote on Twitter. “That’s what the audience wants. Reboots, superheroes, and movies often mask a lack of ideas — time to take stock. No algorithms this weekend.

Lately, some of the biggest movie franchises are showing signs of wear and tear.

Coming 42 years after Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny isn’t blazing through theaters. It grossed $335 million worldwide on a budget more than double that of Barbie, which cost $145 million.

Fast X, the tenth Fast and Furious film, had strong international sales but did poorly domestically. In three days, Barbie has already surpassed its total North American haul of $145.9 million.

The Seventh Mission: Impossible film, Dead Reckoning Part 1, “Barbenheimer” confounded expectations before wowing. It dropped 64% in its second weekend.

Meanwhile, recent Marvel films and DC movies haven’t approached the grosses once guaranteed by comic-book adaptations. Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 was a big box office hit with $843 million worldwide, but films like Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantum Mania and The Flash fell short of expectations.

The nostalgia business isn’t going anywhere and doesn’t rely on Hollywood remakes and sequels. Of the top 10 films at the box office last year, one film was a reboot (The Batman) and the rest were sequels.

But such over-reliance on the same was sure to wear off one day – and this year’s top performers are coming from some new places.

The Super Mario Bros. Movie ($1.3 billion worldwide) isn’t anyone’s idea of ​​a cutting-edge movie, but it does reflect Hollywood’s newfound embrace of the giant gaming industry.

The year’s second-biggest hit, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse ($375.2 million domestically), is yet another Spider-Man movie. But it, like its predecessor, “Into the Spider-Verse,” tries to upend comic-book convention and expand the idea of ​​who can be a superhero.

Originality can be risky for studios, but the rewards can be huge – just ask James Cameron. His franchise hit $2.3 billion with the futuristic, sci-fi epic, Goliath, Avatar, and Avatar: The Way of Water.

What else works? Films that appeal to historically underserved audiences. Creed III, starring Michael B. Jordan, blew past expectations in March, grossing more than $275 million globally on a $75 million budget. Sound of Freedom, from faith-based distributor Angel Studios, took in $124 million in three weeks — and its distributors use an unusual “pay it forward” purchase program.

Of course, terrorism remains the easiest money. Insidious: The Red Door is the latest in a long, bloody line of low-budget, high-performance Blumhouse titles. It grossed $156 million worldwide on a $16 million budget.

Barbee and Oppenheimer are widely expected to play strong for several weeks. They reminded everyone of the boundless cultural power of movies. Anything can happen when stars, marketing muscle and filmmaking vision collide. Also, it doesn’t hurt when their names make for a funny nickname.

Whether that momentum dies down in the waning weeks of summer will leave a string of releases — Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem , Haunted Mansion , Gran Turismo , Strays , Blue Beetle — struggling to keep the spark alive. Meanwhile, the strike by actors and screenwriters is starting to affect the fall film schedule. Hollywood is fighting for its future.

Since the pandemic, studios and theater owners have tried various ways to bring moviegoers back to the movies after the rush to streaming platforms — from Tom Cruise jumping off a cliff to $3 tickets for a day. But what moviegoers crave most may be the chance to see something new.

Mark Harris, author of the Hollywood history “Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood,” believes that an unfolding shift is “undeniable.”

“In ‘Pictures at a Revolution,’ I wrote that a surprise big hit is more disruptive to the Hollywood system than a big flop,” Harris wrote on Twitter. “There we are: two surprise smashes that suggest you bring people back to the movies with something they haven’t seen, not what they have.”

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