Barbie’s Greta Gerwig becomes highest-grossing woman director of all time in North America
LOS ANGELES - American director Greta Gerwig continues to bust industry records with the movie Barbie as the Warner Bros’ hit dominated North American box offices for a fourth consecutive week, industry estimates showed on Sunday.
Gerwig, who with Barbie had already become the first solo woman director to rake in more than US$1 billion (S$1.35 billion) at the global box office, this week became the highest-grossing woman director of all time in the North American market, according to industry publication The Hollywood Reporter.
Industry watcher Exhibitor Relations estimated last weekend’s haul for Barbie at US$33.7 million, bringing its North American total to US$526 million.
Gerwig, 40, overtook Jennifer Lee, who co-directed the 2019 animated sequel to Disney’s Frozen (2013) with Chris Buck. Frozen II grossed US$477.4 million in North America, not adjusted for inflation.
Starring Australian actress Margot Robbie as the iconic doll and Canadian actor Ryan Gosling as boyfriend Ken, Barbie has earned a whopping US$1.2 billion worldwide.
The result meant Gerwig has also become the highest-grossing woman director of a live-action movie at the global box office, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Barbie surpassed Marvel Studios’ superhero film Captain Marvel (2019), directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, which grossed US$1.13 billion worldwide.
Universal’s Oppenheimer, a historical drama about the development of the atomic bomb, regained its second-place position, with the other half of the Barbenheimer phenomenon taking in an estimated US$18.8 million over the weekend.
Oppenheimer had been beaten by the Warner Bros monster flick Meg 2: The Trench the previous week, which fell to fourth this week with an estimated US$12.7 million.
The success of Barbie and Oppenheimer has come amid a backdrop of turmoil in Hollywood, as a historic double-strike by writers and actors has brought productions to a halt.
Both unions are renegotiating their collective contracts with studios to demand better pay, guarantees to limit the use of artificial intelligence and other working conditions.
While on strike, union rules prohibit actors from promoting their films, imperiling the marketing events for upcoming releases as talks show no end in sight.
Third place last weekend went to Paramount’s animated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem, up one spot from the week before with US$15.8 million.
In its debut weekend, Universal’s vampire film The Last Voyage Of The Demeter took a frighteningly distant fifth place, at just US$6.5 million.
Based on Irish author Bram Stoker’s classic Dracula, the period film takes place on a doomed ship transporting the blood-sucker from his Eastern Europe home to England.
“This is a weak opening for a horror film based on a chapter of the legendary Dracula story,” said analyst David Gross.