Hype around upcoming blockbusters Barbie and Oppenheimer is already juicing box office sales, spawning memes and generating fan-made merchandise.
Moviegoers are so determined to see both films that many are making plans to cram both in on the same day—sparking debate online about the “correct” order in which to watch the wildly different movies.
Demand for the double feature—which has become known as “Barbieheimer”—has already been feeding into box office sales ahead of the movies’ July 21 release date.
people seeing barbie first are wild. the schedule needs to be
black coffee and a cigarette
oppenheimer around 11 (its 3 hours)
mimosas and brunch
barbie around 6/7
dinner, drinks, club https://t.co/oRxWJmE2xm
— trish (@ULTRAGLOSS) June 26, 2023
@hopesloopentertainment THIS is the correct order for Barbie and Oppenheimer! #Barbie2023 #barbieliveaction #gretagerwigbarbie #margotrobbiebarbie #BarbieMovie2023 ♬ Fun, Fun, Fun – The Beach Boys
Theater chain AMC said in an email that more than 20,000 members of its AMC Stubs loyalty program had already booked to see Barbie and Oppenheimer on the same day.
— AMC Theatres (@AMCTheatres) July 10, 2023
Christopher Nolan’s three-hour war epic Oppenheimer is projected to make more than $40 million at the domestic box office in its opening weekend, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Meanwhile, Greta Gerwig’s twist on the classic Mattel doll—which has had a huge pre-release marketing campaign—is expected to earn between $70 million and $80 million at the U.S. box office over the July 21-23 weekend.
That would give Barbie at least the seventh highest-grossing opening weekend in the U.S. this year, while Oppenheimer would rank at least as the 13th biggest opening weekend at the domestic box office, according to data from IMDb’s Box Office Mojo.
Family-friendly hits have enjoyed the biggest openings so far this year, with The Super Mario Bros. Movie, Spiderman: Across the Spider-Verse, and Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 topping the ranking of opening weekend earnings in 2023.
A-listers are pumping ‘Barbieheimer’—but Cruise can’t face it
A-listers Matt Damon, Issa Rae and Barbie director Gerwig have all weighed in on the movies being released on the same day and urged fans to see both.
Oppenheimer star Cillian Murphy also revealed in a recent interview that he is a fan of the Barbieheimer phenomenon.
“I love Margot Robbie, I love Ryan Gosling, I want to see them now,” he told Spanish outlet La Vanguardia. “My advice would be for people to go see both [movies] on the same day. If they are good films, then that’s cinema’s gain.”
Even Tom Cruise, whose film Mission: Impossible—Dead Reckoning Part One will be in direct competition with Barbieheimer, has thrown support behind Greta Gerwig and Christopher Nolan’s upcoming releases.
This summer is full of amazing movies to see in theaters.
Congratulations, Harrison Ford, on 40 years of Indy and one of the most iconic characters in history.
I love a double feature, and it doesn’t get more explosive (or more pink) than one with Oppenheimer and Barbie. pic.twitter.com/udWHHj4fAe
— Tom Cruise (@TomCruise) June 28, 2023
He won’t be joining the Barbieheimer bandwagon, however.
“I want to see both Barbie and Oppenheimer,” he said in a recent interview with Variety. “I’ll see them opening weekend. Friday I’ll see Oppenheimer first, and then Barbie on Saturday.”
Cruise, who starred in and produced 2022 smash hit Top Gun: Maverick, was credited by legendary director Steven Spielberg earlier this year with “saving Hollywood’s ass.”