Greta Gerwig makes Barbie queen of the box office with record-smashing opening weekend

By Vicki Newman
barbie split image

Greta Gerwig’s Barbie movie has blown away a box office record with an incredibly successful opening weekend.

The film, starring Margot Robbie in the titular role and Ryan Gosling as Ken, has completely taken over social media since it was released on 21 July.

It’s divided opinion too, with some high-profile men speaking out against it and women lining up to speak out against them.

Whichever camp you lie in, you can’t deny the film’s popularity.

margot robbie and ryan gosling in barbie

It’s claimed the record for highest-grossing female-directed film at the domestic box office (opening weekend) after making a jaw-dropping $162,022,044 (£125,620,065).

The record was first monitored in 2015 with Elizabeth Banks’s Pitch Perfect 2, which brought in $69.216 million in its opening weekend.

This title has also previously belonged to Catherine Hardwicke for Twilight (2008), with $69.637 million, Sam Taylor-Johnson’s Fifty Shades of Grey (2015) with $85.171 million and Frozen II (2019), co-directed by Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, which earned $130.263 million.

Barbie takes the record from Captain Marvel (2019), which was co-directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck and earned $153.433 million in one weekend.

behind the scenes of barbie

In the new film, Barbie and Ken are living their seemingly perfect lives in the colourful Barbie Land when they get a chance to travel to the real world.

There, they soon discover the ups and downs of living among humans.

The film is enjoying rave reviews so far. It’s got an incredibly high rating of 90% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 7.5 out of 10 on IMDb.

Despite its roaring success, Greta (USA) has found herself forced to defend her movie after right-wing pundits labelled it “woke” due to its feminist themes.

She told The New York Times: “Certainly, there's a lot of passion.

“My hope for the movie is that it's an invitation for everybody to be part of the party and let go of the things that aren't necessarily serving us as either women or men.

“I hope that in all of that passion, if they see it or engage with it, it can give them some of the relief that it gave other people.”

Aussie actress Margot says she had made it clear to writer and director Greta that just because she was producing the movie didn’t mean she was expecting to land the lead role.

She told Teen Vogue: “I didn’t actually audition for the role of Barbie. I produced the film so I guess I cast myself.

“But I did make it very clear to Greta – Greta being our writer and director, she was always who I wanted to make a Barbie movie with – I said to her when she said ‘Yes, I’ll come on board’, ‘I don’t have to be in the movie, I’m very passionate about making this as a producer but I don’t have to play Barbie or be in the movie in any capacity, I’m happy to just produce.’

“And she was like, ‘No, I really want to write this for you, and she wrote me an amazing part so I’m very grateful.”

Canadian actor Ryan Gosling revealed on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon that he’d agreed to play Ken after seeing the way his daughter treated her Ken doll.

“Nobody plays with Ken,” he joked.

He added: “Best script I’ve ever read. I walk out in the backyard, and you know where I found Ken, Jimmy? Face down in the mud next to a squished lemon.”

Ryan took a photo of Ken and texted it to Greta saying: “I shall be your Ken. For his story must be told.”

If you’re a Barbie fan, you should also check out Bettina Dorfmann’s record-breaking collection of 18,500 Barbie dolls.

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