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'Barbie' movie debut shines even brighter as final tally rises '


Barbie's record-breaking debut at cinemas over the weekend landed higher than initial estimates with $162 million in ticket sales in the United States and Canada, distributor Warner Bros said on Monday.

The final Friday to Sunday tally for the "Barbie" movie starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling was slightly higher than the $155 million the studio estimated on Sunday. "Barbie" is the No.1 movie of the year based on domestic opening weekend sales, beating the $146.4 million haul for the April release "The Super Mario Bros. Movie."

Director Greta Gerwig's take on the Mattel Inc doll also added $194.3 million in 63 international markets for a global debut of $356.3 million. "Barbie" faced off against director Christopher Nolan's "Oppenheimer" in a box office battle dubbed "Barbenheimer."

Final numbers also rose for "Oppenheimer." The story of the making of the atomic bomb brought in $82.4 million in the United States and Canada from Friday through Sunday, up from the earlier estimate of $80.5 million.

In 78 international markets, "Oppenheimer" collected nearly $98.0 million for a global total of $180.4 million.

Both movies beat expectations and helped the U.S. and Canadian box office surpass $300 million for just the fourth time in history.

"Barbie" grossed an estimated 18.5 million pounds ($23.7 million) and "Oppenheimer" 10.9 million pounds at the UK-Ireland box office at the weekend, Screen International said on Monday - the first time two films opened to over 10 million pounds each.

In a battle dubbed "Barbenheimer" on social media, both movies enjoyed sold-out screenings across the country, with many fans flocking to the big screens dressed in pink to emulate the plastic doll.

The two films have given a much-needed lift to movie theatres after many earlier releases fell flat this year. Greta Gerwig, who helmed "Barbie", beat the record for the biggest opening for a film directed by a woman.

"Oppenheimer", starring Irish actor Cillian Murphy as the American scientist who developed the atomic bomb, also secured director Christopher Nolan's second-biggest UK opening weekend.

Cinema operator Vue International said it had enjoyed its biggest weekend since "Avengers: Endgame" opened in 2019, with "Barbie" on track to become the biggest film of 2023. "Barbie", which stars Margot Robbie, also ruled in U.S. and Canadian theatres, taking an estimated $155 million to set the record for the biggest domestic opening of 2023.

The British Film Institute's weekend box office figures will be released on Wednesday.

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