This weekend I watched both Barbie and Oppenheimer, taking part in the cinematic event dubbed 'Barbieheimer'.
Due to the twin release date of these two thematically opposed movies, many cinema fans created memes, dressed up and planned a double-bill viewing of the two features.
AI generated fan art of Barbie & Dr Oppenheimer in front of a mushroom cloud. Credit https://www.vox.com/culture/23789864/barbenheimer-barbieheimer-barbie-oppenheimer-release-memes-double-feature
Some viewers planned their whole day, starting with a black coffee & cigarette breakfast before watching Nolan's epic Oppenheimer, then a bottomless brunch / cocktails and dancing after Greta Gerwig's frivolous 'Barbie'.
Honestly I loved both of these films respectively. Cillian Murphy's portrayal of tortured genius Dr Oppenheimer was phenomenal and I was delightfully surprised by Ryan Gosling's musical number 'I'm just Ken'. I watched in the opposite order to most, and in hindsight it might have been better to end on the pink bubbly wonder of Barbie, as Oppenheimer left me feeling a little uneasy and shocked by how far human cruelty can reach.
It's no secret that in recent years, cinema attendance has been at an all time low. Perhaps partly due to the covid lockdown or the cost of living crisis, but the Barbieheimer cinema summer phenomenon boosted ticket sales to a point we've not seen in several years. Perhaps because the marketing of these movies was spectacular, boosting not only their own, but the other movie in the process, or perhaps because millenials and Gen-Z viewers are no stranger to serious FOMO and a good instagram opportunity.
During both showings, the screens were packed. Whatever our reasons for viewing, I hope future releases take note of how to get it right!