Pink is the new black: The beef behind Barbenheimer

By Heidi Van Schie

When Barbie was announced to release on exact same day as Oppenheimer, Internet users were delighted by the comedic timing, but did you know the release date was more than a happy accident?

The director of Oppenheimer, Christopher Nolan, had some bad blood with Warner Brothers and the feeling was very mutual.

“Some of our industry’s biggest filmmakers and most important movie stars went to bed the night before thinking they were working for the greatest movie studio and woke up to find out they were working for the worst streaming service,” Nolan told Hollywood Reporter in 2020.

When Oppenheimer was announced, Warner Bros knew just how to retaliate.

This ended up backfiring on them, everyone thought it would be funny to see the movies cheek-to-cheek, giving Oppenheimer’s viewership a boost.

The Idea convinced a younger demographic, like me, to see the film to follow the trend.

Barbenheimer became more than an experience, it was also a big part of meme culture.

The jokes spanned from well-constructed wisecracks to simplistic side-by-side images of the emotional climax of both movies – Barbie in her hot pink cowboy attire, Robert Oppenheimer in his black, white and grey attire, a single tear rolling down both their cheeks.

With Oppenheimer earning $US788 million ($1.225 billion) as of September 1 and Barbie beating it with a massive $US1.38 billion ($2.15b) as of September 4, I think we can all agree that despite the differences in plot, run-time and general aesthetic, both movies were well received.

Featured image: The monster double bill. Photo: RyanAI6/CC/Wikimedia Commons

Mark Gately
After a long career in journalism I am now teaching writing and the news-gathering craft at TAFE NSW. In my spare time I explore my creative side by writing fiction.

Leave a Reply