Barbenheimer mania breaks records at Chicago theaters

Ryan Gosling, Margo Robbie, Cillian Murphy

Both Barbie and Oppenheimer have become massive summer box-office hits, and a cultural phenomena attracting a historic number of enthusiast audiences to Chicago theaters.

Throngs of moviegoers are filling Chicago theaters with a sea of pink as Barbie mania brings a full array of Barbie & Ken attire in celebration of what looks to be the #1 summer hit.

And if you took a look at the audiences after the packed Barbie screenings let out, many were in fact heading directly into the 3 hour-long screening of Oppenheimer for a ‘Barbenheimer’ double feature.

In theaters across the city, showings of both films sold out days ahead of their release as hype soared to unprecedented levels. Barbie pre-sales were the highest in Warner Bros history.

Barbie has experienced an unprecedented level of popularity. The film has rapidly accumulated $351.4 million in the U.S. and Canadian theaters and an additional $122.2 million internationally, making its global tally reach an astonishing $775 million.

The New 400 Theater in Rogers Park saw its best weekend in years. Patrons reveled in themed drinks, such as the Malibu Barbie and the Manhattan Project, complemented by a dazzling pink carpet and a photo wall.

Last week, Oppenheimer raked in an impressive $207,000 at the Music Box, the top figure among all Chicago movie houses.

‘Barbenheimer’ has proven to be not a one-weekend phenomenon but an ongoing box-office bonanza, that was referred to by Jeff Goldstein, distribution chief for Warner Bros, as “a touchstone moment for movies, moviegoers and movie theaters.”

Amid the frenzy, Barbie is already attracting a lot of repeat moviegoers. Goldstein estimates that 12% of sales are people going back with friends or family to see it again.

In parallel, Universal Pictures’ Oppenheimer demonstrated superhero movie-like performance rather than that of a three-hour film about scientists talking. The drama, led by Cillian Murphy portraying atomic bomb physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, achieved a remarkable $174.1 million domestically and an additional $72.4 million in international cinemas, easily surpassing $400 million globally.

These successes have come at a crucial time for the film industry, which had been trying to regain its pre-pandemic footing. With movie theaters facing an uncertain future, the weekend’s success has lifted hopes that a full recovery is on the horizon.

ALSO READ: Malibu Barbie pop-up comes to The West Loop

Sign up for our free elert here and follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.