The movie will finish the weekend with $1.03bn (£808m) in ticket sales at the global box office, it said in a statement on Sunday. It means Greta Gerwig has become the first woman to reach the milestone as a solo director. Warner Bros described it as a “watershed moment”.

Jeff Goldstein, president of domestic distribution in the US, said: “No-one but Greta Gerwig could have brought this cross-generational icon and her world to life in such a funny, emotional and entertaining story… literally turning the entire world pink.” He said that long lines in cinemas and repeat viewings “prove that movies are back” after the cinema industry suffered due to pandemic lockdowns and competition from streamers.

Other female directors have helmed films that have surpassed the $1bn-mark but working with others. Frozen, the animated blockbuster, and its sequel have generated more than $1.4bn in box office takings and were co-directed by Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck.

Meanwhile, Captain Marvel, starring Brie Larson and co-directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, generated more than $1.1bn in takings. The pink-hued film has received praise from critics and inspired scores of selfies at doll boxes installed in cinemas across the UK too.

Starring Margot Robbie as Barbie and Ryan Gosling as Ken, it has drawn in $459m so far in the US and $572m internationally.

Achieving “Barbillion” – as described by Warner Bros – is no mean feat. Just five other films have done so since the pandemic, including The Super Mario Brothers Movie earlier this year, Spider-Man: No Way Home, Top Gun: Maverick, Jurassic World Dominion and the Avatar sequel.

Cinema-goers have often paired a viewing of Barbie, which tells a coming-of-age story of the iconic doll, with Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer – a story about the development of the first atomic bomb.




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