Czech cinemas ride the Barbenheimer wave as both films dominate box office sales

Opening on the same day, the Hollywood films Barbie and Oppenheimer have led to cinemas worldwide being sold out.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 24.07.2023 17:29:00 (updated on 24.07.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

The Barbenheimer phenomenon didn’t bypass Czechia. The Hollywood films Barbie and Oppenheimer came in first and second at the Czech box office this weekend. According to the Czech film distributor Vertical Entertainment, when previews are included, Barbie set a new opening weekend record with 118,230 viewers and a box office haul of CZK 21,654,704 from 177 cinemas across Czechia.

The comedy starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling as the personifications of the popular dolls Barbie and Ken is showing domestically in both the original English and dubbed versions.

Czech film fans were positive about the film. On the film website Česko-Slovenská filmová databáze fans gave it a 76 percent positive rating, which is similar to the 7.6 out of 10 that users of the international film website IMDB gave it. Users of the global rating site Rotten Tomatoes were more upbeat, giving it 90 percent.

The film has a slight local connection, with Czech-made glassware turning up in one scene. A pink pitcher and some glasses were made by the Klimchi company based in the town of Kamenický Šenov.

Prague has the only IMAX screenings on film in Europe

Not far behind, the atom bomb drama Oppenhiemer had 88,798 viewers and took in CZK 17,582,675 from 168 cinemas, the Union of Film Distributors said in its weekly box office roundup. The film stars Cillian Murphy as scientist J. Robert Oppenheimer.

Of note, the IMAX cinema at Prague’s Atrium Flora shopping mall is the only cinema in Europe to show the film from an actual 70 mm film and not a digital copy. Director Christopher Nolan has said that this is how he prefers people to see his film, but very few cinemas are currently equipped to handle film anymore. He called the IMAX film cameras the “gold standard” for filmmaking.

The film pushes the limit of what IMAX projectors can handle. In total, the print weighs 272 kilograms and if unspooled in a single strip it would stretch 17 kilometers. But people who want to see it in IMAX should book tickets right away, as the screenings are already sold out for several weeks to come.

Czech fans gave Oppenheimer 89 percent, a bit ahead of the 8.8 rating on IMDB. Rotten Tomatoes users again were most enthusiastic, giving it 94 percent.

This strong local opening for both films follows the global trend, with Barbie taking in USD 155 million in ticket sales from North American theaters from 4,243 locations, while Oppenheimer banked USD 80.5 million from 3,610 theaters in the U.S. and Canada. Worldwide, Barbie hauled USD 337 million and Oppenheimer grabbed USD 174 million, the industry magazine Variety reported.  

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