“Barbie” and “Gran Turismo” triumph at the box office in a showdown that has a lot to do with movie calculus and the shifting definitions of what an opening weekend means.
Warner Bros., which backed Barbie, claims the film won its fifth weekend, taking in $15.1 million over the past Friday, Saturday and Sunday. However, Sony, which produced Gran Turismo, claims its film topped the box office with $17.4 million.
The problem is the fact that the opening figure for “Gran Turismo” includes both the $1.4 million it earned in Thursday previews and the $3.9 million it made during weeks of pre-show specials. Studios routinely incorporate Thursday’s preview totals into their opening weekend results — and Warner Bros. isn’t opposed to either. However, Sony seems to be taking a very liberal idea of what constitutes an opening weekend by including weeks of other offerings.
She has company here. Paramount did the same thing with “Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves” when it opened in the spring, adding scores from multiple preview shows to its opening weekend. And in the darkest days of the pandemic, Warner Bros. It was taken into account in eleven days of performances In the $20 million “opener” for Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet.”
Were it not for the preview screenings, Gran Turismo would have opened in second place with $13.4 million in revenue, Warner Bros. claims. In the end, it may not make much difference who comes out on top. Barbie is one of the biggest movies of this year or any other, with $1.34 billion. “Gran Turismo,” which grossed $53.8 million worldwide, still has a lot to make up for if it is to turn a profit. The racing adventure cost $60 million to produce and millions more to market.
On Sunday, Warner Bros. expected Barbie to make $17.1 million over the weekend, but those estimates were revised downward on Monday.
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