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Maximising Return on Investment: What We Can Learn from Barbenheimer

The dual release of Greta Gerwig’s Barbie and Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer has officially been marked as the fourth-biggest box office weekend in history. The highly-anticipated movies – affectionately dubbed Barbenheimer– generated combined sales of $536m globally. So, how exactly did Barbenheimer ensure a high return on investment, and what can we learn from it?

Making an investment

Gerwig’s Barbie is said to have cost a net of $128m (before P and A) to produce, while Nolan’s Oppenheimer cost roughly $100m. Both projects were quite costly in terms of time, too - the creation of Barbie took place over the span of five years, while Oppenheimer was in the works for over two. With combined sales of $536m globally, it is safe to say both directors are seeing a wealthy return on their initial investments. In simple terms, when you want to succeed, you must invest. By investing, we don’t just mean money, it also accounts for your time, energy and other sacrifices personal to you.

"when you want to succeed, you must invest."

Getting the right people

As actors go, the two movies were lucky enough to nab some of the fan favourites including Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling and Cillian Murphy. Not only does the cast have to act well, but they also must represent the movie and act as brand advocates. If this is done well, there is already a huge chance of success before the movie even premiers. Similarly, when hoping to maximise your return on investment in your upcoming projects, think of your team as your cast. Ask yourself, does this person have the passion and drive to deliver? And importantly, are they well-aligned enough with our goals to represent us?

"Ask yourself, does this person have the passion and drive to deliver?"

Doing it differently

For many movies, having the same release date may have been a challenge – that's where Barbenheimer was different. With Margot Robbie snapping selfies with her Oppenheimer ticket and Cillian Murphy boasting his excitement for Barbie, the casts didn’t shy away from promoting each other. Clearly, this tactic worked well. So much so, that NPR writes: “each film only boosted the other, with over 200,000 people purchasing tickets to see the odd couple as a double feature, according to the National Association of Theatre Owners.” Sometimes, the best way to succeed is to approach challenges differently. In this case, they were able to transform what would usually be considered a conflict into a unique collaboration.

"they were able to transform what would usually be considered a conflict into a unique collaboration."

The success of Barbenheimer serves as a reminder that achieving a high return on investment requires a combination of significant investment, assembling the right team, and approaching challenges with an open mind and willingness to try new strategies. In a world where success often hinges on bold choices and innovative thinking, let Barbenheimer be an example.


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