Greta Gerwig is set to become the first female director with $1 billion at the box office


By Sarah Bregel

Barbie has been crushing it at the box office, and the momentum hasn’t slowed down. Now, Greta Gerwig is on track to become the first female filmmaker to break the billion-dollar barrier, likely this weekend—just in time for her 40th birthday.

Thanks to an epic marketing push by Warner Brothers, the film has already broken records. Not only did it see the biggest domestic opening for a non-superhero film or sequel since the pandemic, but it also saw the biggest opening weekend ever for a female-directed film. Barbie made $356.3 million over that first weekend, as attendees in their pink trousers and tees sold out theaters.

As of Friday, the film is exceptionally close to the billion-dollar mark, having earned $916.1 million. The feat is massive: Only 53 films—including Titanic, Avatar, and The Avengers—have managed to do so. But Barbie has also come at a tough time for film, when many movies expected to soar at the box office haven’t. 

Theaters have struggled to get people in the door in a post-COVID world since there are many options for watching from home, too—even if it means having to wait a few extra weeks or months. Barbie’s opening weekend was massive and even helped lift Oppenheimer’s $82.4 million opening weekend. Even so, the domestic box office is down 20% from pre-pandemic levels. 

Greta Gerwig, who directed Lady Bird and Little Women, was also already one of the richest female directors in the world. But Barbie’s astounding success puts her in a new category, which, until now, had been dominated by the likes of James Cameron, Steven Spielberg, and Christopher Nolan—the richest filmmakers in the world.

Fast Company