Dear Gossips, 

Barbie continued to do big business at the box office this weekend with another $93 million domestically and $122 million from 70 markets outside North America which means it is fast approaching the billion dollar mark and will likely get there in a couple of weeks, if that. 


This is especially impressive because some people were thinking that there would be a steep second weekend drop-off. But Barbie has now become the best second weekend box office for a Warner Bros film – even better than The Dark Knight! On top of that, Oppenheimer also held strong in its second weekend. Together, alongside with Haunted Mansion in its first weekend, though the box office for that particular movie was lackluster, this was still the most successful last weekend of July at the box office ever, reversing the worries that people had earlier this summer when theatrical totals were looking pretty soft. Sort of. Because the strike is still happening and so far, there’s been no movement. So whatever momentum Barbenheimer is maintaining definitely won’t last past the summer if there’s no resolution. 

Consider, for example, Haunted Mansion, which opened at just under $25 million, definitely not great for Disney. The strike has seriously hurt that movie’s marketing as its stars did not attend the premiere and it’s only director Justin Simien who’s been out there trying his best. As he told The Hollywood Reporter, it’s been a “bittersweet” experience, since he’s proud of his work, obviously, but with the strike and the Bob Iger comments, "I feel like I crash-landed into [the event].”


This is a really thoughtful interview and adds another perspective about what’s at risk here and how tricky it’s been for someone like Justin to navigate this moment: 

“Because I’m in the DGA, which made a deal with the AMPTP, I am obligated by my Disney contract to promote the movie. That sucks because I know how that might look to some people. But I also know how it feels to fight for something that I believe in within the very system that I’m fighting. I’m a Black gay man in America, so it’s not the first time by any stretch. But, look at me. I’m making this hundred-plus-million-dollar movie. That’s ancestors’ wildest-dream stuff.”

Many of you may know Justin Simien from Dear White People and he can speak firsthand to the Netflix model and why it needs to change. This complements The New Yorker’s piece a couple of weeks ago about the cast of Orange is the New Black: 

“There was a tremendous battle over budget and what the cast was to be paid in the final season of Dear White People. It was extremely painful to make a series during a time when our network was putting our billboards all over the country to advertise their commitment to Blackness and to Black liberation because of George Floyd and COVID, while we were asking for pennies just to pay for PPE. So when I read that [New Yorker piece], I was like, “OK, we were not alone.” [Orange] was one of their biggest shows. If they had that issue, it makes sense that we did. Then I realized, “Oh, it’s weird that the viewership [data] was kept from me.” Now I’ve sort of figured out, through my own means, that our show was more popular and successful than we were ever meant to think that it was. Did I get bamboozled? You can’t escape that feeling.


This is the intersection of the strike and diversity. Networks and streaming platforms are claiming that they’re becoming more diverse in their content, and engaging with BIPOC creatives are enhancing their reputations. But those creatives are not being compensated fairly while these companies capitalise on their inclusion efforts. And that’s even before the A.I. issue is discussed. 

Earlier this year, Levi’s announced that they’d be trying out A.I. generated models to “increase diversity” and sustainability resulting in backlash from underrepresented groups, including people of colour, who were like so you’re going to use fake minority models instead of hiring real ones?! Does that really improve diversity? 

Where Hollywood is concerned, who do you think A.I. is going to replace first? It’s always the people with the least amount of power, it’s always going to be the people who haven’t been included. As history has shown, it’s never the people at the top who lose out first. 

Yours in gossip,