Numerous media outlets have reported that Barbie is the top grossing Warner Bros. film of all time. However, this is simply not true.
Outlets such as Daily Mail, Deadline, USA Today and others all trumpeted Barbie as the highest grossing Warner Bros. film. USA Today’s headline blared, “‘Barbie’ blockbuster now Warner Bros. No. 1 domestic film of all time: Box office report.”
Daily Mail’s headline similarly declared, “Barbie becomes Warner Bros highest domestic grossing film ever making $537million at the US box office and a fortune for star Margot Robbie and director Greta Gerwig.”
And Deadline blasted, “‘Barbie’ Parties On: Pic Becomes Highest Grossing Warner Bros Movie Ever At Domestic Box Office.”
All of these headlines are based on Barbie’s domestic box office, which currently sits at $569.4 million. That number is indeed higher than The Dark Knight, which grossed $533.7 million domestically.
In fact, if one just looked at total box office grosses, it does indeed look like Barbie is the highest grossing Warner Bros. film at the domestic box office. It bests not only The Dark Knight, but The Dark Knight Rises, Wonder Woman, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II, The Batman, Joker, Aquaman, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Suicide Squad.
If you look at the worldwide box office, the film is still best by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II. Barbie’s global box office sits at $1.28 billion while Harry Potter is at $1.31 billion.
At the top of the heap appears to be The Exorcist. Back in 1973 when the film was initially released, the movie grossed around $165 million according to The-Numbers. The film would be rereleased in 2000 and gross about another $30 million.
If you adjust those numbers for inflation the film raked in around $1.2 billion in 2023 dollars just at the domestic box office. That’s more than double Barbie’s current domestic gross.
Other films that have grossed more than Barbie when adjusting for inflation include:
- The Dark Knight – $757.7 million
- Blazing Saddles – $740.9 million
- Billy Jack – $739.6 million
- My Fair Lady – $709.9 million
- Superman – $629.2 million
- Batman (1989) – $619.2 million
- The Dark Knight Rises – $596.6 million
Barbie has a long ways to go to become the highest grossing Warner Bros. film of all time, and it’s likely it will not claim that spot any time soon.