• Barbie, directed by Greta Gerwig and starring Margot Robbie, has broken multiple box office records and holds the highest-grossing opening weekend for a female director and the best second weekend total for Warner Bros.
  • Barbie has surpassed Home Alone as the highest-grossing comedy of all time domestically and it also holds the record for the highest-grossing worldwide comedy movie with $816 million, beating The Hangover Part II.
  • With its continued success, Barbie is on track to cross the $1 billion mark and become the first live-action comedy to achieve this milestone, defying the usual underperformance of the genre caused by smaller budgets and marketing efforts.

2023's summer smash hit Barbie has destroyed a specific record that was held by one film for over 30 years. Released in July 2023, Barbie was part of one of the biggest box office phenomenons of the year due in part to having the same release date as Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer. The humorously titled "Barbenheimer" weekend broke numerous box office records, with Barbie being the stronger of the two regarding worldwide box office hauls.

The movie is directed by Greta Gerwig and stars Margot Robbie in the titular role as a Barbie who, alongside Ryan Gosling's Ken, undergoes a journey of self-discovery. Barbie's opening weekend proved to be a record-breaking release, with the film becoming the highest-grossing opening weekend of all time for a female director. Barbie's second box office weekend continued this, with the film marking the best second weekend in history for a Warner Bros. movie. With Barbie's continued success - that shows no sign of slowing down - the film has smashed through yet another box office record that has been held for 33 years.

Barbie Is The Highest-Grossing Comedy Movie Of All-Time

Margot Robbie as Barbie with money floating around

The record in question is the title of the highest-grossing comedy movie of all time domestically, which Barbie now holds. Before Barbie's release, the highest-grossing comedy movie of all time domestically was 1990's Home Alone, with the Christmas flick holding that title for over three decades. After Barbie's historic box office performance though, the film has become the highest-grossing film in the genre in the United States and Canada, finally dethroning Home Alone after 33 years. Home Alone's domestic gross was $285 million, with Barbie's $394 million haul - at the time of writing - vastly outweighing the former.

Furthermore, Barbie also holds the title of being the highest-grossing comedy movie of all time worldwide. Previously, The Hangover Part II was the highest-grossing worldwide comedy movie, with a total gross of $586 million. As of August 4, 2023, Barbie's worldwide box office sits at $816 million, without taking into account how much the film earns on its third weekend. Be it domestic or worldwide, Barbie's power at the box office is evident, as the film continues to widen the gap between itself and its comedic peers.

Will Barbie Break The $1 Billion Box Office Mark?


With Barbie's box office continuing to grow and the film smashing all kinds of records, the question looms over whether it will cross the coveted $1 billion threshold. If all continues as it has been, Barbie is likely to cross the $1 billion mark by the end of its third weekend, if not shortly after. As per a report by Box Office Pro, Barbie is expected to earn anywhere between $57-$66 million in its third weekend domestically, taking its US and Canada total to over $450 million. Combined with the film's continued performance overseas, Barbie hitting $1 billion is almost guaranteed.

This would make Barbie only the second movie of 2023 to hit the $1 billion mark after The Super Mario Bros. Movie. Given the lackluster performance of several of 2023's biggest blockbusters, the success comes as a welcome surprise for those fearing for the future of cinema. After besting Home Alone and The Hangover Part II respectively as the highest-grossing comedy of all time domestically and worldwide, Barbie's third weekend will see it become the first live-action comedy to cross the $1 billion milestone, furthering the film's historic run.

Why Comedy Movies Don't Make As Much Money As Other Genres

Stills from Back to the Future, The Truman Show, and Hot Fuzz

Barbie surpassing previous movies in its genre and becoming the first comedy to pass $1 billion begs the question of why comedies do not make as much money as other genres. The primary reason comes from the fact that most comedies tend to be original movies. Rarely are comedies part of pre-established franchises, often being made on smaller budgets from original scripts. As such, the smaller scale of most comedy movies means less money is utilized for their marketing and distribution, resulting in smaller box office hauls.

The now-second highest-grossing comedy of all time worldwide, The Hangover Part II, is one of the few outlying incidents of a comedy spawning a franchise. Usually, though, comedies tend to be smaller productions. While Barbie is also an original movie, the sheer talent both behind and in front of the camera and the "Barbenheimer" phenomenon allowed the film to perform exceedingly well at the box office both domestically and worldwide. These elements, combined with Barbie being attached to an IP known across the world, allowed the film to defy all odds and become the highest-grossing comedy of all time, despite the genre typically underperforming.