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What is the “Barbenheimer”?

The online confrontation between “Barbie” by Greta Gerwig and “Openheimer” by Christopher Nolan began since they announced their release date in the United States: July 21.

In Puerto Rico, both films open on Thursday, July 20.

It is not uncommon for studios to schedule releases of films of different genres in the same weekend, pI saw the stark differences between an intense, serious film about the man who oversaw the development of the atomic bomb and a rosy, rosy anthropomorphization of a childhood doll. it quickly became viral fodder.

There is even some disagreement as to whether it is “Barbieheimer,” “Barbenheimer,” or “Boppenheimer,” or some other combination, a phenomenon on which the AP Manual of Style does not yet offer guidance, but for the purposes of this article it will be “Barbenheimer”, it returns more results online.

Both Nolan and Gerwig have very passionate and eager fans. Even many of those fans overlap and this has led to memes, allegiances, and t-shirts that are just too funny.

Both movies often trend on social media when the other releases a new asset: a sneak peek, an image, an interview. On some level, it is the dream of the marketing department. The attention couldn’t be greater, the conversation couldn’t be louder, and none of the movies have official reviews yet.

“’Barbenheimer’ is a marketing gift born of social media and I think it’s benefiting both movies,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at analysis firm Comscore. “Certainly you are aware of both films in a deeper and more compelling way than I think might have happened if they had been released on different weekends.”

The AMC Theaters chain reported that 20,000 members of its AMC Stubs client group had purchased tickets for both. There are 294 minutes of movies. Even margot robbiewho plays Barbie, and Tom Cruisethe star of another summer blockbuster, have begun planning the ideal “Barbenheimer” day.

Scene from “Barbie”, left, and “Oppenheimer”, the big premieres this week. ((Warner Bros. Pictures/Universal Pictures via AP))

“It’s a perfect double bill,” Robbie said at the London premiere of his film on Wednesday. “I think you really start your day with ‘Barbie,’ then it goes right into ‘Oppenheimer,’ and then a little bit more ‘Barbie.'”

Cruise, whose “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One” (“Mission: Impossible Death Sentence – Part One”) was released just over a week before the “Barbenheimer” showdown, he said in his debut that he plans to see both films on their opening day, likely starting with “Oppenheimer,” which seems to be the internet’s preferred display order as well.

“Barbie” actress Issa Rae thinks there’s a reason for that.

“I think there is a very specific order to see them. If you see ‘Oppenheimer’ at the end, then you could be a bit psycho,” she diagnosed at the London premiere.

The showdown has turned everyone into marketing experts, quick to analyze every move by Warner Bros. and Universal, as if it were possible to compare two extraordinarily different campaigns.

One has endless opportunities for very pink and sparkly photos, whimsical brand partnerships for seemingly everything from underwear to pool floats, large-scale fan events with autograph signings, and pop stars like Billie Eilish posting about the soundtrack. In other words, the “Barbie” campaign may go nuclear.

“Oppenheimer” instead has the bombshell, the seductive mystery and the big-screen hook, but it’s not the kind of film that lends itself to, say, a frozen yogurt collaboration.

However, is the competition real or just a meme? Some in Hollywood wondered if Warner Bros. released “Barbie” that weekend as a slight to Nolan, who had released many films for the studio, including “Inception” and “Dunkirk.” ). The director left Warner Bros. in the midst of his controversial decision to release his year-old films (during the pandemic) by streaming and instead made “Oppenheimer” with Universal. But a box office war doesn’t exactly make sense for a studio that has recently spoken about looking to lure Nolan back.

There is an unspoken code of conduct: Never speak ill of another studio’s film, at least publicly. This is partly ceremonial, especially when it comes to “box office run-ins”, which everyone will say is a creation of the press with viewers on the sidelines. But it’s also rooted in some truth: The conventional thinking is that having eyes on a movie is good for other movies, they see their posters and trailers. Somehow everyone benefits.

And social media has also allowed movie stars to get in on the game. Following reports that Cruise was upset that the latest “Mission: Impossible” was set to lose IMAX screens to “Oppenheimer” just a week after its release, Cruise posted photos of him and his film’s director, Christopher McQuarrie, standing in front of billboards. from “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny,” “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer,” with tickets for each.

“This summer is full of amazing movies to see in theaters. These are just a few we can’t wait to see on the big screen,” Cruise’s Instagram caption read.

The official accounts of “Indiana Jones”, “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” responded with support. Gerwig and Robbie even followed up with a similar series of photos a few days later, which the official “Oppenheimer” Instagram account reposted to their stories. Oppenheimer’s star Cillian Murphy told the AP at his film’s London premiere that “of course” he will be watching “Barbie.” The cross-promotion between the big four studios (Universal, Warner Bros., Disney, and Paramount) is something the movie industry hasn’t seen before.

“Tom Cruise is not only the biggest box office star in the world, but he is also an incredible ambassador for cinema, for the cinema experience and for driving other movies forward,” said Dergarabedian. “And that atmosphere in what is considered a very competitive box office race is a nice thing.”

Still, everyone likes a No. 1 debut, and both “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” reportedly have a production price tag of $100 million (not including the millions spent on promotion). When it comes to box office tracking, “Barbie” has it in the bag with forecasts showing it could open in excess of $90 million in the US and Canada. Meanwhile, “Oppenheimer” is estimated to be in the $40 million range. Then there’s the “Mission: Impossible” wild card, which could take second place.

Even with a second- or third-place start, “Oppenheimer” could be destined for a long, steady and profitable run in awards season. Adult audiences for R-rated movies (requiring those under 17 to see them accompanied by a parent or guardian) are typically not the ones that fill theaters on the first weekend.

In 2008, in the midst of the recession, Warner Bros. and Universal clashed on the same July weekend with another Nolan movie: “The Dark Knight” (“Batman: The Dark Knight”) and “Mamma Mia.” . Both were hugely profitable (although Nolan won the opening weekend).

The biggest concern is that what had been heralded as the post-pandemic summer of Hollywood’s comeback has had more ups and downs than anyone could have expected. That’s putting some pressure on “Barbenheimer” to outperform and boost the summer box office, which pales in comparison to the bigger problems facing the industry now that actors have joined striking writers.

But with almost a week to go until the big day of “Barbenheimer”, this is still a source of fun. Even “Barbie” actor Will Ferrell winked at the London premiere.

“I think the world might want to see ‘Barbie’ a little bit more right now,” Ferrell said. “I just believe”.

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