Barbie Vs Oppenheimer: Why The Hype For Barbenheimer | TheReviewGeek Investigates

Credit: @seanlongmore, Warner Bros, Universal Pictures

Barbie Vs Oppenheimer

There has been one major question on everyone’s mind since last year and that is what they are going to do in summer 2023. And no, it hasn’t been on whether it’s too late to get a beach bod or where to holiday. Even Tom Cruise, who has been busy promoting his blockbuster franchise Mission: Impossible, has been asked about it – are you watching Barbie or Oppenheimer first? 

It is the ultimate showdown of 2023! But, why is there so much hype behind Barbie vs. Oppenheimer that has even led Cillian Murphy to come out of the woodwork to show his excitement over the double feature?


Barbie (2023)

Let us break down the warranted awe at this collaboration. Barbie is a colourful, exciting and fun comedy about the popular toy, the Barbie doll directed by Greta Gerwig who has solidified her position thanks to her whimsy, fun and nostalgic films. The casting is considered top tier as we get real-life Barbie Margot Robbie as the lead.

Heartthrob Ryan Gosling’s weird tan and platinum hair which makes him look older than he is turned heads and it seems that is the intention as Gosling rightly points out the ageist mindset of Hollywood – no one ever cared about Ken before.

The Barbie live-action has also become a fashion moment as pink has been dominating trends since 2022 and John Cena vs Dua Lipa’s wigs have caused quite a stir. Meanwhile, Robbie is living her best life recreating Barbie doll looks for the press tour.


Oppenheimer (2023)

On the other end of the spectrum, we have Oppenheimer, a gripping biographical drama on the father of the atomic bomb. Along with the plot, the aesthetic is as different as it can ever be from Barbie. Distraught, gritty, dark and chilling can be used to describe the posters of Cillian Murphy as Oppenheimer.

And director Christopher Nolan’s deliberate choice of words on how the atomic bomb scene has been shot has everyone joking and being confused as he shares that he wants it to be as real as possible and so, did not use any CGI. Of course, professionals are constantly clarifying that it just means that practical effects have been used but the ‘damage’ has been done.

Social media is burning with jokes on how explosive the experience will be…literally. It also happens to be shot on film, boasting reels of 11 miles. And not to be outdone by the Barbie cast, Oppenheimer press tours too, have memorable moments such as Emily Blunt’s husband, John Krasinki tagging along and trying but hilariously failing to get in on the memes, and Robert Downey Jr. being the life of the party as usual.

Social Media’s Role

But how did these two polar opposite movies simply sharing the same release date end up being talked about in the same breath? Well, we know how it happened – social media. A powerful tool that can even make an egg go viral or take down beloved celebrities. Don’t believe us? Take a look at some of the most iconic films’ release dates.

Did you know that 10 Things I Hate About You and The Matrix were released on the same day? So were Eat Pray Love and The Expendables. Not feeling the Barbenheimer vibe yet? Well, how about Mamma Mia and The Dark Knight (oops, another Nolan film) taking over the Summer of 2008? Both are commercial superhits and have a similar contrasting aesthetic and genre to Barbenheimer.

Abba songs played in every club courtesy of Mamma Mia while Heath Ledger’s Joker from The Dark Knight has become a legend. However, no one pitted the two films against each other or even thought of doing a double feature like Barbenheimer back then.

Wait, what is Barbenheimer now? There is so much excitement behind the two movies that netizens have already clubbed Barbie and Oppenheimer to coin the term ‘Barbenheimer’ with even unofficial merch being made by fans. It’s like mixing champagne with dynamite – explosive and hilarious.

Sure we had rage memes, cats, people updating every single detail of their life on Facebook and Twitter, and random pretty Pinterest and Tumblr posts in 2008. But that sums up our social media experience of the 2000s. Compared to now, there is a running theme of absurd humour (unpacking that will have to be another post) where people can make viral memes on the most random thing.

And Barbenheimer is a testament to that. If we were to trace the origins of Barbenheimer, it started as a simple ‘Which movie are you going to watch’ as both are being released on the same day. It then led to everyone intentionally or unintentionally shading toxic masculinity as men are showing their excitement for Barbie.

Then we got the sass – Oppenheimer is for the laughs and Barbie is for the philosophical discourse of existence on earth. Cinephiles interested in watching both have now started the debate of which film to watch first – with there being no wrong answer for the order. 

Of course, both movies’ publicity teams are not sitting idly by either. They have taken advantage of it as well to raise the Barbenheimer hype even further, riding on the joint PR; a first in quite a while as we’ve rarely ever seen different studios, who are competing at the box office with their respective films, to actually collaborate.

But it’s a plus as they’ve brought in each other fans to double up the audience. And some hilarious gems have come out of it from Margot Robbie being the one to teach us how to pronounce Cillian Murphy’s name right (FYI it is Killian) to fan-made trailers of the Barbenheimer crossover that we’d pay good money to see. Robbie and Gerwig also buying tickets for Oppenheimer have everyone joking about how Nolan would get Cillian to jump in on the trend as well.

Why The Hype For Barbenheimer

To get to the main question, why is there so much hype around Barbie vs Oppenheimer? Humans are simple, they see everyone doing something, and they want in on it too. Barbenheimer is a global event, everyone is talking about it — the memes, the fashion, the difference in press junkets. And when everyone’s talking about it, you want to be a part of it too. Who can resist the allure of this global event?

People from all walks of life are hopping on the Barbenheimer bandwagon, curious to witness this unprecedented collision of cinema. Those who would only watch Barbie, watch Oppenheimer too and vice versa, just for the ‘double feature’ extravaganza. Those who would stay at home and later watch them on OTT platforms head out just for the excitement of dressing up in theme and posting photos of their excursion.

If you’re one of the few who doesn’t go with the flow, kudos to you, but we are talking about general statistics – those who are on social media and are part of the influencer and influenced circle. And there are a lot, otherwise, the films wouldn’t make the buzz that they are, with industry experts predicting the possibility of a total of billion-dollar global box office gross. But we do wonder, which film will be the bigger hit?

What do you think? Are you excited for Barbenheimer? Which movie are you going to watch first? Let us know in the comments below.

3 thoughts on “Barbie Vs Oppenheimer: Why The Hype For Barbenheimer | TheReviewGeek Investigates”

  1. I think you’re right. Oppenheimer isn’t likely to be as fun but I think it will be briliant all the same.

  2. Hi Lopa, I loved this article! I’m looking forward to both movies and am ‘tickled pink’ about Barbie especially! Just wondering…which are you most looking forward to?

    Lee 🙂

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