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Greta Gerwig’s ‘Barbie’ Sets New Records for Female Directors at Home and Abroad Box Office

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Greta Gerwig’s triumph with the film ‘Barbie’ has propelled her into the ranks of A-list filmmakers, affirming her standing as a skilled director who steadily climbed her way to success. The exceptional box office performance of ‘Barbie’ has shattered records, making it the highest-grossing movie ever directed by a woman, both in the United States and worldwide, surpassing the accomplishments of ‘Frozen II’ and ‘Captain Marvel’. Gerwig is now presented with numerous exciting opportunities on the horizon, including her role as director for two Narnia installments under the Netflix banner.

The phenomenal triumph of ‘Barbie’ has vaulted Greta Gerwig directly into A-list recognition, but this doesn’t negate the fact that she paid her dues along the way. Gerwig’s ascent through the industry has been notably gradual, a striking departure from the trend of many young filmmakers who are handed major blockbuster franchises after achieving success with independent hits. While the potential for ‘Barbie’ to be a hit for Warner Bros. was evident, the extent of its eventual massive success remained unpredictable.

Following three weeks in theaters, the movie accomplished three significant milestones on a single day. It breached the $500 million threshold at the domestic box office on a Friday, after already surpassing the $1 billion mark worldwide a few days prior. In doing so, it now holds the record for the highest-grossing film directed by a woman in the domestic market, surpassing ‘Frozen II’, helmed by Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck. On a global scale, ‘Barbie’ has also become the highest-grossing live-action movie directed by a woman, outpacing the $1.13 billion earnings of ‘Captain Marvel’, directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck.

Gerwig initially gained recognition as the co-director of ‘Nights and Weekends’, a collaboration with mumblecore luminary Joe Swanberg. She made her solo directorial debut with the acclaimed ‘Lady Bird’, which achieved nearly $80 million in global box office earnings and garnered Oscar nominations for Best Director and Best Original Screenplay. Following this, she directed ‘Little Women’, which raked in over $200 million worldwide and secured Gerwig her third Academy Award nomination, this time in the Best Adapted Screenplay category.

Illustration by Warner Bros.
Gerwig’s Deliberate Climb to Success

While ‘Lady Bird’ was produced on a budget of $10 million, Gerwig took a step up with a $40 million budget for ‘Little Women’. ‘Barbie’, however, marks her most costly venture, with reported expenses in the range of $150 million. This career trajectory aligns with Ridley Scott’s perspective; in a 2017 interview with Vulture, the veteran filmmaker criticized studios for entrusting massive budgets of $180 million to inexperienced directors for major tentpole productions. Scott advocated for a gradual approach, advising directors to progress step by step, from low-budget projects to mid-range endeavors, before tackling larger budgets.

The world is now Gerwig’s canvas. Although discussions regarding a sequel to ‘Barbie’ are already underway, Gerwig is currently committed to directing two Narnia films for Netflix. Based on the popular Mattel toyline, ‘Barbie’ presents a satirical and subversive exploration of themes like patriarchy, existentialism, and feminism. The movie features Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling in pivotal roles, marking a much-needed box office triumph for the actors following a series of disappointing results. To catch our conversation with Gerwig, click here, and stay tuned to FilmSweep for further updates.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about record-breaking

What has Greta Gerwig’s success with ‘Barbie’ established for her?

Greta Gerwig’s success with ‘Barbie’ has elevated her to A-list status in the film industry and solidified her reputation as a talented director who achieved gradual and steady growth in her career.

How has ‘Barbie’ performed at the box office?

‘Barbie’ has broken records as the highest-grossing film directed by a female director, both domestically and globally. It surpassed the box office achievements of ‘Frozen II’ and ‘Captain Marvel’.

What milestones has ‘Barbie’ reached in terms of box office earnings?

After three weeks in theaters, ‘Barbie’ crossed the $500 million mark at the domestic box office and had already exceeded $1 billion in global earnings. This marked its position as the highest-grossing film by a female director both domestically and globally.

How did Greta Gerwig’s career progress leading up to ‘Barbie’?

Gerwig’s rise in the film industry has been gradual and deliberate. She started as a co-director on projects like ‘Nights and Weekends’, followed by her solo directorial debut ‘Lady Bird’ and ‘Little Women’, which earned her critical acclaim and Oscar nominations.

What advice did Ridley Scott offer for filmmakers’ career paths?

Ridley Scott advised filmmakers to gradually increase their budgets, avoiding sudden jumps to high-budget productions. He suggested starting with low-budget projects and gradually moving up to larger ones.

What are Greta Gerwig’s future projects?

In addition to the success of ‘Barbie’, Gerwig is attached to direct two Narnia movies for Netflix. Her career continues to evolve with exciting opportunities on the horizon.

What themes does ‘Barbie’ explore?

‘Barbie’ offers a satirical and subversive take on themes like patriarchy, existentialism, and feminism, providing a unique perspective on societal issues through the lens of the popular Mattel toyline.

Who are the lead actors in ‘Barbie’?

The movie stars Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling in central roles, marking a significant box office success for both actors after a series of less favorable outcomes.

Where can I watch an interview with Greta Gerwig about ‘Barbie’?

You can watch an interview with Greta Gerwig about ‘Barbie’ on FilmSweep for more insights into the movie and its success.

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cinemalover23 August 14, 2023 - 7:51 am

gerwig’s career path smart, not like rushin into big budgets. respect ridley scott’s advice

filmgeek456 August 14, 2023 - 9:31 am

margot robbie & ryan goslin in barbie? amazin combo, their careers gonna soar now, yas!

moviebuff101 August 14, 2023 - 11:04 pm

omg greta gerwig rockin it with barbie! highest grossin film by a female dir!!1 she’s like superstar now

bookwormgirl August 14, 2023 - 11:43 pm

barbie movie talkin bout patriarchy & feminism? wow, that’s deep, excited to see gerwig’s take

netflixjunkie August 15, 2023 - 4:34 am

narnia movies on netflix?! that’s amazin, can’t wait for gerwig’s touch on ’em


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