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Box Office Clash: “Gran Turismo” vs. “Barbie” in Epic Showdown

Gran Turismo

Gran Turismo: A True Tale” and “Barbie” found themselves in a neck-and-neck race for the top spot at the box office this weekend, as per studio projections released on Sunday.

Sony Pictures reported that “Gran Turismo” revved up with a weekend haul of $17.3 million, while Warner Bros. estimated that “Barbie,” now in its sixth week of screening, managed to pull in $17.1 million. It’s worth noting that these figures may still undergo minor adjustments once the final ticket sales numbers are tallied on Monday.

The unique dynamics of this weekend in multiplexes played a significant role. In the United States, theaters celebrated the second annual National Cinema Day on Sunday, offering moviegoers the chance to watch films for a mere $4, a price that applied to all movies and showtimes across the nation.

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Gran Turismo vs Barbie @IMDb

“Barbie” was anticipated to be the day’s top draw, especially benefiting from repeat viewings. With a domestic box office total of $594.8 million, “Barbie” has now overtaken “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” ($574 million) as the highest-grossing domestic film of the year. Furthermore, with a worldwide gross of $1.34 billion, it’s on track to surpass “Mario’s” $1.35 billion global tally.

National Cinema Day aims to attract audiences to theaters during what is typically a slower period and compensate for the reduced ticket prices by selling plenty of popcorn. Last year’s event brought in 8.1 million moviegoers, making it the busiest day for theaters that year. Warner Bros. estimated that nearly 2 million people watched “Barbie” on Sunday, making it the standout film of the day.

So, what’s the big winner at the weekend box office?

“Barbie,” asserts Jeff Goldstein, Warner Bros.’ distribution chief, “Without a doubt.”

While “Barbie” may have claimed the weekend’s top spot, “Gran Turismo” managed to eke out a slight, albeit debatable, advantage in terms of total earnings. Sony included a substantial $3.9 million from preview screenings held before Thursday, along with $1.4 million from Thursday previews when tallying up the weekend totals for “Gran Turismo.” While such accounting practices are standard in Hollywood, they do stretch the concept of an opening “weekend.”

Jeff Goldstein of Warner Bros. commented on the matter, stating, “We’ve made a big issue of it only because ‘Barbie’ has had incredible holds. To take away the number one spot, which would have marked five weekends at number one since its release, doesn’t quite seem fair to the ‘Barbie’ filmmakers, who truly deserve recognition.”

Sony executives declined to provide further comment.

Regardless, “Gran Turismo” got off to a decent start, considering its $60 million production budget. The film, which explores the journey of a young man who transforms into a real-life racer thanks to his love for the PlayStation video game, has resonated positively with audiences, earning it an “A” CinemaScore.

The ongoing strike by actors and screenwriters has hindered studios’ ability to promote their films using their casts. To generate buzz around “Gran Turismo,” Sony opted for weeks of preview screenings and fan-centric events.

Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for data firm Comscore, weighed in on the situation, stating, “Every movie is vying to be the number one film, obviously. But ultimately, ‘Barbie’ is an unequivocal global blockbuster. Regardless of how you analyze it, ‘Barbie’ will always be a winner, regardless of the outcome this weekend. Sony, lacking the star power to promote the film, had to rely on the audience to become the marketing voice.”

Last week’s top film, DC Comics’ “Blue Beetle,” slipped to third place in its second week, pulling in $12.8 million. The Warner Bros. release has amassed $46.3 million over two weeks, marking another underperformance for DC.

Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” followed in fourth place, grossing $9 million in its sixth week. Like its sibling “Barbenheimer,” this Universal Pictures release has displayed remarkable staying power in theaters, accumulating over $300 million domestically and reaching $777.1 million globally.

Several other new releases made their way to theaters. MGM’s high school comedy “Bottoms” kicked off with a solid start in limited release, averaging $51,600 per location in 10 theaters. The Liam Neeson thriller “Retribution” debuted with $3.3 million across 1,750 theaters for Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions.

“The Hill,” a sports drama featuring Dennis Quaid, launched with $2.5 million from 1,570 locations for Briarcliff and Open Road. “Golda,” starring Helen Mirren as the former Israeli prime minister, premiered with $2 million across 883 theaters for Bleecker Street.

According to Comscore, the North American box office is now just $70 million shy of reaching $4 billion for the summer season. After a rollercoaster season that saw some major releases, such as “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny,” “The Flash,” and “Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part One,” fall short of expectations, “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” have staged a comeback. If the box office does manage to hit the $4 billion mark for the summer, it would mark the first time since 2019.

Here are the estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore:

  1. “Gran Turismo: Based on a True Story,” $17.3 million.
  2. “Barbie,” $17.1 million.
  3. “Blue Beetle,” $12.8 million.
  4. “Oppenheimer,” $9 million.
  5. “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem,” $6.1 million.
  6. “Meg 2: The Trench,” $5.1 million.
  7. “Strays,” $4.7 million.
  8. “Retribution,” $3.3 million.
  9. “The Hill,” $2.5 million.
  10. “Haunted Mansion,” $2.1 million.

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