This Barbie is a nuclear physicist.
Set to explode into theatres in a haze of pink (be it the shade of plastic or an atomic bomb), Barbie and Oppenheimer are the double feature of the summer.
The two movies could not be more different, with Greta Gerwig’s sparkly film exploring the classic Mattel doll landing in the ‘real world’ and dealing with the “joys and perils of living among humans.” Christopher Nolan’s 3 hour long, biographical period piece follows the moral dilemma of Robert Oppenheimer, the physicist who aided in the development of the world’s first nuclear weapons.
Perhaps a line could be drawn between Barbie and Opphenheimer’s struggle with their morality; Barbie’s perusal of higher meaning and understanding of her place in the world, and Oppenheimer dealing with the unreal power he is about to release onto the world. But, comparing the two movies does not seem to be the point.
Lovingly named “Barbenheimer”, the double feature quickly took off online after fans realised they could watch the two films back to back. What began as a joke has quickly turned into a cult following, with t-shirts being made across the globe.
Fans are currently engaged in a heated debate as to which movie should be seen first. Some argue that starting with Barbie as a sweet appetiser and ending with Oppenheimer as a darker main course is the favoured route. Others swear that Barbie is the perfect way to bring yourself back up after the depressing nature of Nolan’s film.
Even the filmmakers and casts have jumped aboard the Barbenheimer train, with Tom Cruise encouraging fans to complete a quadruple feature by watching his new movie and the new Indiana Jones alongside Gerwig and Nolan. Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie posted a picture of themselves after watching the four films, with the caption “Mission: accepted.”
This fan-powered marketing is doing wonders for box office predictions, with both films expecting huge crowds. The craze is so effective, that many are wondering if Barbenheimer is an industry plant. Some claim that the films are so opposite, that this obsession could only have happened organically. Others believe that the creators of the films may have had a hand in starting the fire. History has shown that double features made up of opposite films are a popular craze. For example, back in 2008, The Dark Knight and Mamma Mia was the event of the season with the excitement for both films boosting their numbers. This has been seen with Barbenheimer too, with Oppenheimer trending on the internet each time a new Barbie trailer is dropped.
Whether or not the directors of Barbie and Oppenheimer deliberately planned on releasing their films on the same day, they certainly aren’t shying away from the phenomenon. Barbenheimer is a marketing team's gold mine, and fans are doing wonders promoting the two movies.
Both Barbie and Oppenheimer will be released in theatres on July 21st.
So, which film are you going to start your marathon on? The bubbly, pink adventures of Barbie, or the heavy-headed philosophical torture of Oppenheimer?
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