Vue International said the release of Barbie and Oppenheimer had the biggest weekend of UK cinema ticket sales in four years.
The cinema chain said on Sunday that a fifth of its customers had bought tickets to see both films in a social media-inspired double bill dubbed “Barbenheimer”.
The two films, released on Friday, have very different stories, with Greta Gerwig’s comedy about a doll, and By Christopher Nolan Biographical thriller chronicles physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer’s role in developing the first atomic bomb.
Over 2,000 screenings of Vue Barbie According to the company, was sold.
The cinema chain’s biggest sites for Barbie include Cambridge, Glasgow St Enoch, Leeds Kirkstall, Cumbria, Islington, Bolton and Portsmouth.
The film, starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, will surpass Super Mario Bros. and Oppenheimer’s ticket sales to become the biggest film of the year, Viv said.
Tim Richards, Chief Executive and Founder of Vue International, said: “Vue saw its highest weekend admissions since the release of Barbie and Oppenheimer in Avengers: Endgame in 2019, proving that when the movies are out, our customers will come to see them on the big screen.
“Barbie is on track to become the biggest film of 2023 and has a good chance of breaking into the top 10 highest-grossing films of all time.
“This is an incredibly exciting moment for the industry, and we expect this trend to continue for weeks to come.”
Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling chat with Barbie while hitting the pink carpet.
Christopher Nolan did not intend for the Oppenheimer film to be so timely.
In total, the cinema chain held more than 4,000 sell-out sessions across the country for both films.
Odeon reported Thursday that more than 200,000 advance tickets have been purchased and more than 10,000 visitors are expected to see both films during the opening weekend.
Universal Pictures said Oppenheimer, which stars Céline Murphy and Florence Pugh, has earned £8.05m in the UK and Ireland since Friday.
The film production and distribution company said the biopic is on track to open three days better than Nolan’s other blockbusters Dunkirk, Interstellar and Inception.
Sales across the pond have also picked up with Barbie having the biggest opening weekend of any film in North America, taking in $155m (£120m) and Oppenheimer taking in $80.5m (£62.6m).
Farhan Mehmood, who watched Barbie at 2.30pm, followed by a dark Oppenheimer at 5.15pm with a friend, told the PA news agency that the films “can save cinema”.
The 21-year-old from Scunthorpe, who volunteers in digital marketing, said: “Barbie had a deep message, she played it (with what) she said in the trailer with the tagline, ‘If you grew up with Barbie, this movie is for you. If you didn’t, this is for you too’.”
“Oppenheimer, on the other hand, leaves you with a big shock, it’s… somewhat depressing and I absolutely think it can save cinema.”