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Top-grossing films directed by women as Greta Gerwig breaks records with Barbie

Greta Gerwig at the Barbie premiere  (Getty Images for Warner Bros.)
Greta Gerwig at the Barbie premiere (Getty Images for Warner Bros.)

Barbie’s early success has given Greta Gerwig the biggest first weekend return at the box office for a female director in film history.

It could now become one of the highest grossing films ever with a woman behind the camera, with the current record being Jennifer Lee’s Frozen II.

A huge marketing campaign and healthy competition with Oppenheimer, which also opened on Friday, propelled Barbie into the stratosphere of ratings.

And after rave reviews – including this five star one from the Standard’s Charlotte O’Sullivan – it could stick around for weeks to come and be one of the smash hits of 2023.

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Here is how Barbie’s box office success compares with other films directed by women.

What has Barbie made at the box office so far?

Barbie made $377 million (£295 million) at the US box office over the weekend and £18.5 million in the UK.

On the home front, this puts Barbie behind only James Bond film No Time To Die (£21 million) and Spider-Man: No Way Home (£19.5 million) for films released after the pandemic. Sam Taylor-Johnson’s Fifty Shades of Grey (2015) had the previous record of a UK opening weekend for a film directed by a woman with £13.6 million.

Barbie was the biggest opening for any film in the careers of Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling and puts the film on the threshold of the top 10 of the year so far.

Did Barbie make more money than Oppenheimer?

In both the US and the UK, Barbie was number one. Oppenheimer made $174 million in America and £10.9 million here. However, it was the first time in more than four years that two films in the UK have opened to more than £10 million.

What are the top 10 highest grossing films directed by a woman?

10. Pitch Perfect (2015, Elizabeth Banks)

$287,144,079

9. Twilight (2008, Catherine Hardwick)

$408,430,415

8. Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (2009, Betty Thomas)

$443,140,005

7. Shrek (2001, Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson)

$488,441,368

6. Brave (2012, Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman)

$540.4 million

5. The Matrix Reloaded (2003, Lilly and Lana Wachowski)

$741,847,937

4. Wonder Woman (2017, Patty Jenkins)

$822,854,286

3. Captain Marvel (2019, Anna Boded and Ryan Fleck)

$1,131,416,446

2. Frozen (2013, Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee)

$1,284,540,518

1. Frozen II (2019, Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee)

$1,453,683,476

Could Barbie become the highest grossing film directed by a woman? Barbie is now in the top 10 of all time and could well keep climbing the leaderboard as the film continues to be seen around the world. Frozen II has an intimidating lead but it is not out of the question that Barbie could catch up.