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Barbie retains top spot at North American box office for fourth week

Warner Bros’ hit Barbie dominated North American box offices for a fourth consecutive week, industry estimates showed on Sunday (Aug 13), as director Greta Gerwig continues to bust industry records.

Gerwig, who with Barbie had already become the first solo woman director to rake in more than US$1 billion at the global box office, this week became the highest-grossing woman director of all time in the domestic market, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Industry watcher Exhibitor Relations estimated this weekend’s haul for Barbie at US$33.7 million (S$45.6 million), bringing its domestic total to US$526 million.

Gerwig is currently vying against Jennifer Lee, who co-directed the animated sequel to Disney’s Frozen with Chris Buck, to be the highest-grossing woman director of all time at the global box office.

Starring Margot Robbie as the iconic doll and Ryan Gosling as boyfriend Ken, Barbie has earned a whopping US$1.2 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.

Last week Oppenheimer had been beaten by the Warner Bros monster flick Meg 2: The Trench, 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 this 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 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 A Gross.

With poor reviews and an estimated budget of US$45 million, the film is a “difficult sell under any conditions”, he added.

Rounding out the top 10 were:

Haunted Mansion (US$5.6 million)

Talk To Me (US$5.1 million)

Sound Of Freedom (US$4.8 million)

Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One (US$4.7 million)

Indiana Jones And The Dial Of Destiny (US$900,000)

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