After passing the $1 billion mark earlier this month, Barbie is now the biggest box office success in Warner Bros. history. Grossing more than $1.34 billion, it’s now surpassed the final Harry Potter movie – along with every film in the DC Comics franchise.
For some fans, this isn’t just an interesting stat. It’s a political victory over Harry Potter, whose reputation has soured due to J.K. Rowling‘s anti-trans views. Not only does Barbie include a trans actress (a Barbie played by Hari Nef), but it’s also widely celebrated as a queer/trans allegory in general.
So when the news broke that Barbie had officially made more money than Deathly Hallows Part 2, it inspired a flood of celebratory tweets like, “THE EVIL HAS BEEN DEFEATED” and “Tear down the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and replace it with Barbieland.” Some also took aim at Ben Shapiro, who claimed Barbie would flop because it was too “woke.”
That being said, the main winners here are Warner Bros. executives and shareholders. While modern movie fandom often positions box office success as a team victory, it’s really more of a business issue – which comes with extra baggage in the midst of the Hollywood strikes. Margot Robbie and Greta Gerwig are both getting big payouts for Barbie‘s success, but can the same be said of the film’s lower-level cast and crew?
Plus, while there’s a certain poetic justice to a trans-friendly movie “defeating” Harry Potter at the box office, the same studio is still hell-bent on squeezing more money from the Potter franchise, downplaying Rowling’s controversial behavior as much as possible.