By: Macy Dennon and Dana Hathaway

Editor-In-Chief and Public Relations Manager

B is for Barbie! | Lettering, Letter b, Letter logo

Whether you are a hard-core Barbie stan or an Oppenheimer aficionado, it is undeniable that both films deserve recognition for their profound influence on our society. 

A rapid success, Barbie, starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, has garnered over 1.83 billion dollars in global box office and counting from people dressed head to toe in pink. The movie depicts Stereotypical Barbie discovering the trials and tribulations of being human while searching for what she wants out of her plastic life. Stop reading this paragraph NOW to avoid spoilers! The blond icon’s world is empowering — until Ken finds out what men have on Earth, and wants the power for himself. He brings the patriarchy into Barbie World, but the women eventually save the day by restoring the self-confidence and authority of Barbies.

Oppenheimer, starring Cillian Murphy and Florence Pugh, stands in stark contrast to the pink-filled Barbie. The movie covers the story of the first nuclear bomb through Robert Oppenheimer’s perspective, and the masterful cinematography led to 853 million dollars of box office revenue. The film takes a deep dive into politics during the Cold War, and provides insight into the Manhattan Project that was under strict security for years. Director Christopher Nolan did one of the most fascinating pieces of history justice with Oppenheimer.

These films are amazing standing alone, but put the two together and you get a pair aimed to solve the issue of cinema sales. Though we are all tired of hearing the word COVID by now, the pandemic struck theaters with a particularly hard blow, causing many (like our beloved Los Gatos Theatre) to go out of business. Social media calls this phenomenon of people returning to the theaters the Barbenhiemer effect. 

The effect took place even before the two movies hit the cinema; social media went crazy over the release dates, as both films were set to see the big screen on July 21, 2023. Moviegoers were in hysterics over how different the movies seemed to be, as one was about the Atomic Bomb and the other was about, well, Barbie. Some took the simultaneous release as setting up a Barbie vs. Oppenheimer viewer brawl. While the Barbie watchers undeniably won the battle, as showcased by the near 2 billion dollars in global box office, the majority deemed it a must-see double feature. Though this meant choosing which movie to watch first, many fans thought that the polar opposites somehow paired well together. 

Due to the phenomenon, both Oppenheimer and Barbie exceeded box office expectations. Barbiehiemer may have just saved cinemas from the depths of despair! 

(Sources: CNN, The Hill, The Guardian, SF Gate, IndieWire)

Categories: Culture

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