Over 20% of Barbie’s audience hadn’t been to the movies in years


Every so often, a movie comes out that really changes the discourse, shakes up the industry, and becomes a huge cultural zeitgeist. Barbie is the latest movie to do this. It’s become a really fun event to go see Barbie. Women (and some men too!) are dressing up in their best pinks to see it in theaters. So far, it’s made more than $1 billion and counting at the worldwide box office, Greta Gerwig has become the highest grossing female director of all time, and Margot Robbie is set to make $50 million on the backend. And now, we can add another crazy statistic to Barbie’s success: according to a recent survey, nearly a quarter of Barbie’s audience says that they haven’t been to a movie theater in years. Barbie is fighting the patriarchy and saving the movies!

A recent survey reveals that 22% of Barbie’s audience hadn’t been to a movie theater in years. Barbie has been a massive box office success, having currently grossed $1.18 billion worldwide. By the end of its opening weekend, Barbie grossed $162 million domestically. Director Greta Gerwig also had the highest-grossing domestic opening ever for a female director and is now the highest-grossing female director of all time at the domestic box office. Barbie has since surpassed Aquaman’s record of $1.15 billion, making it the second highest-grossing movie in Warner Bros. history.

According to a survey by Quorum, 11% of Barbie’s audience hadn’t been to a movie theater since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and another 11% couldn’t recall the last movie they saw in a theater. Of those surveyed, 46% said they go to the movies all of the time and 32% said they go every now and again. The survey was conducted among 1,800 people over the course of the three weeks since Barbie’s theatrical release.

While the 1,800 people surveyed are only a sampling of Barbie’s extensive audience, the results do speak volumes about Barbie’s record-shattering box office success. According to the survey, nearly a quarter of the people who saw Barbie haven’t been to the theaters since the pandemic or haven’t gone in so long that they can’t recall the last movie they saw in theaters. This is a feat that many movies, some of which seemed like surefire hits, have failed to achieve since movie theaters reopened in 2021 after closing due to the pandemic in March 2020.

Barbie got audiences to return to theaters by making the movie feel like an event. The 2001: A Space Odyssey-inspired teaser trailer kicked off an exciting marketing campaign that made it clear the movie was going to take risks and would appeal to many demographics. From the interactive Barbie selfie generator to the Barbenheimer discourse, Barbie became a movie that needed to be seen in theaters instead of just waiting for it to become available via streaming. During and after opening weekend, social media has been flooded with pictures of attendees going to see Barbie in their best pink outfits.

Good word of mouth has also benefited Barbie. The movie has been widely praised for its stunning production design, its positive messages, Gerwig’s direction, and the performances from Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling, and its other stars, proving the movie lived up to the hype. Barbie’s success is proof that plenty of audiences are still interested in going to the movies; they just need to feel like they have a good reason to go. The stellar marketing campaign, online discourse, and good word of mouth surrounding Barbie caught the attention of those who haven’t gone to the theaters in recent years.

[From Screenrant]

I think Screenrant nails a lot of the reasons behind Barbie’s success. After those pictures leaked last year, people got really excited for it and the marketing team did a phenomenal job keeping the hype up ahead of time. The Barbenheimer stuff – there were some great memes – definitely also helped encourage people to get out to the theater to see both films when they otherwise may have only seen just one of them. I should also point out that Disney+ and HBO Max were streaming new releases last year, so why would people pay for a movie ticket, popcorn, and a drink when they could just stream the same movie at home?

However, the one thing that article fails to acknowledge is that women are the main drivers of Barbie’s success! When people make things for women, we show up! When is the last time a big movie came out in theaters that was specifically made with women of all ages in mind? Look, I enjoyed the first decade of Marvel movies but they were made for me to enjoy as a nerd and movies like Mission: Impossible, John Wick, and Indiana Jones – all sequels – appealed to me as an action fan. Barbie was the first big movie in a long time that was made for and specifically spoke to the female experience. Plus, it was well-made, indulged our nostalgia, had a dance sequence, and was, above all else, just really fun. I’m glad so many people were inspired to venture back into theaters to see it. Maybe Hollywood will make more movies geared towards us again.


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