Are you going to a double feature of “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer”
This weekend, will you be seeing “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” together? It’s not uncommon for you to feel that way.
This weekend, the “Barbenheimer” craze is all but certain to propel the box office to its best weekend in years. This week, BoxOffice Pro, a publication that tracks box office performance, projected a $200 million weekend. One of the biggest theatrical weekends since the pandemic would result from that.
A runaway box office success story is not what we expect from the battle of the bombshells in theaters. There has been a viral internet sensation that has flooded social media feeds with jokes and parodies about the opposing films, and now it looks set to meme its way to record theatrical attendance.
According to Michael O’Leary, president of the National Association of Theatre Owners, “the anticipation for these two movies is unprecedented, as people are eager to see an exciting cultural event in the theatre.” In addition, it’s not just about the first three days at the box office. There will be no end to the popularity of these films for weeks to come.”
In order to be clear, both Warner Bros. There have been high levels of interest around both of the films for some time now. Pictures’ Mattel flick (Warner Bros. is owned by Warner Bros. Discovery and Universal’s Christopher Nolan bio-epic were always expected to do well on their own. The memes, however, are expected to deliver a powerful jolt to the theater industry if rolled up together. They are, in effect, juicing attendance.
Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at BoxOffice Pro, told me Thursday that this is one of the wildest and most unpredictable situations he has ever observed at the box office. “‘Oppenheimer’ and ‘Barbie’ were both destined to succeed on their own terms, but capturing the social media zeitgeist has escalated the phenomenon into one of the biggest moviegoing weekends since 2019. ‘Barbenheimer’ is well known even to people who don’t visit cinemas often. You can’t buy that kind of promotion easily, if at all.”
Since it was announced the two movies would be released on the same day, the “Barbenheimer” meme has been around for some time. There was no escaping the fact that the two films, which could not be further apart in genre and style, would share the box office on the same weekend. In addition to the iconic doll’s signature pink and cheery colors, “Barbie” is a fun comedy film. It is a serious, three-hour drama with dark imagery about war and humanity’s potential destruction.
However, opposites can attract. In a post on social media last month, Tom Cruise announced that he was seeing both movies. The trend has continued to snowball, with millions of posts on social media platforms like TikTok building up a wave that has now swept the whole country.
Ironically, studios normally avoid releasing major box office features on the same weekend as another due to their massive draw. This prevents movies from tripping over each other.
Hollywood’s conventional wisdom has been that you can’t release two big blockbusters on the same weekend, but maybe that’s not true,” O’Leary said. This weekend proves that moviegoers love great films and will support them – even on the same day in many cases.”
In this case, the blockbusters actually help each other, building anticipation for a summer movie event that boosts receipts for the two films that should compete.
“What began as a debate or rivalry in some circles about which films to see has organically evolved into a celebration of both films and the communal power of seeing them together,” Robbins told me. “It’s a win-win.” This will go down in history.”