Barbenheimer and the Return of Hollywood

Barbie v. Oppenheimer is about to be the most explosive event in film history with millions of movie-goers around the world anticipating them.

Barbenheimer. It’s more than just a black and white side by side or a battle of the sexes manifested on celluloid. It’s a meme. It’s a mood. A vibe. A lifestyle. It’s the phenomenon coming July 21st, 2023 that could save cinema as we know it. If anyone told us 5 years ago that two movies would be coming out on the same day, one about a plastic doll and another about the man behind the deadliest weapon in existence, and that these two movies would be such a huge phenomenon all across the world, sparking millions of memes and sparking humanity’s interest in film again, most of us would have laughed in that someone’s face.


Apparently that’s exactly what’s happening this year. Barbie and Oppenheimer, two movies that are definitely polar opposites of one another are releasing on the same day next week and it’s an understatement to say that we’re excited. After all, when you two have blockbuster films premiering helmed by Greta Gerwig and Christopher Nolan, the auteur queen and king of Hollywood, on the same day, it’s hard to stop ourselves to from being the first ones to buy the tickets.

The past few years have been really hard on true cinephiles and movie-goers. COVID and superhero fatigue has set in everyone, with most people yearning to a true and unique experience to cinemas and especially Hollywood again. With the casts of both movies stacked as Cillian Murphy and Robert Downey Jr. bring their A-game for Oppenheimer as J. Robert Oppenheimer and Lewis Strauss respectively while Barbie and Ken manifest themselves into Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling respectively for Barbie.

The casts and production teams for both films are excited to finally give the people some good entertaining plots, amazing performances and beautiful cinematography on the silver screen, with Christopher Nolan developing multiple IMAX prints to make Oppenheimer’s cinematography, and color palettes pop while Greta Gerwig makes sure there is not a single frame that doesn’t have the color pink in Barbie. Cillian Murphy and Margot Robbie have really enveloped themselves in their respective roles with Cillian sometimes even neglecting eating while filming while Margot made sure to fine anyone who didn’t wear pink on set.


This entire phenomenon is now nicknamed as “Barbenheimer” as most people are making plans to watch both movies on the same day as a double feature. The real dilemma is wondering which movie they should watch first, whether it should be Oppenheimer with the bleakness of the atomic bomb or whether it should be Barbie with its pastel-pink colors and its light-hearted genre of romantic comedy. Most people are trying to watch Oppenheimer first and then cleanse their palate with Barbie, making sure they don’t have a bleak start to their weekend.

Many celebrities and directors have also signed on to the Barbenheimer phenomenon with many also agreeing to go ahead and watch both movies as a double feature to gain the best experience. Famous actor Tom Cruise will also be seeing Barbenheimer in the theaters, revealing that his Barbenheimer marathon order would be Oppenheimer first and then Barbie and he also said that the whole marathon will be a unique movie going experience unlike anything in history. Cillian Murphy very recently appeared in an interview and gave Barbenheimer his seal of approval as well claiming that people should go watch the movies on the same day and that “if people believe that both movies are good, then that’s cinema”.

By now there’s no doubt we’ve all seen the Barbie v Oppenheimer debate everywhere. The endless jokes, memes, fan art and mashups pairing these two unlikely sibling movies and while most of it may seem like irony at first glance, everyone knows how special this occasion and both of these films are. The specialty of these films are not just the casts and directors but the love, care and passion the teams put in their respective films is nothing short of miraculous.


Barbie’s costume designs are absolutely phenomenal and the attention to detail is spectacular with costume designer Jacqueline Durran pulling costumes not only from Barbie’s history over the years but also the fashion of famous classical Hollywood actresses such as Brigitte Bardot. The film’s cinematography and color palette makes sure to contain the color pink in every frame, reminding the audience constantly that this is, after all, a Barbie film. On the exact opposite side there is Oppenheimer, which is the first ever film to ever be shot completely using IMAX cameras. Even the black-and-white scenes of the film are revealed to be shot on IMAX, utilizing the IMAX print to its fullest capabilities. Of course there is also the stellar cast on both films that just make their performances absolutely a treat to watch.

Both film’s first reactions are out and it’s safe to say that the hype for both films is definitely worth it with reports for Barbie claiming that Margot Robbie is winning hearts” while the film is called “bombastic” and the cast is said to be “brilliant while Oppenheimer premiered in Paris with many reports claiming it’s “Christopher Nolan’s magnum opus” and that it’s the “best film of his career. Other reports that also shine well on Oppenheimer claim that multiple people stood outside the theater to discuss the film after the premiere in Paris.

So like everyone else, we’re sure you’re excited for Oppenheimer and Barbie both. The real question is what will you watch first?