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The Wolf Howl

The Wolf Howl

The Student News Site of Chandler High School

The Wolf Howl

Barbenheimer: Silliest Event of the Summer

Sif Woolf

With a combined revenue of $244.4 million opening weekend, as reported by CNN, Greta Gerwig’s Barbie and Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer have shared a staggeringly effective spotlight in viewership. That spotlight started as a meme, but has quickly gone full-swing into the silliest event of the summer.

If you’ve been in the movie corner of the internet—namely Tiktok—you’ve likely seen something related to “Barbenheimer”. Whether it be videos of someone editing the posters together, dressing up for a double feature of each movie, or stitching similar moments together, the relationship these two movies have despite their very obvious aesthetic differences has turned the internet on its head. The impact this meme has made on the box office is nothing to sneeze at. 

But what kicked off the Barbenheimer craze?

It was the release date of all things. Both Barbie and Oppenheimer were released on July 21st of this year. Normally, studios avoid this. Showing off two major blockbusters on the same weekend is bound to create intense competition, at the risk of either movie not performing well. But the internet did what it does best: turn the accident into a widespread joke. When the movies did finally release, Tom Cruise made a comment about seeing both movies, one after the other. Soon enough, that’s what everyone was doing! The craze only grew as Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie (lead actress of Barbie) posted a photo of their tickets to Oppenheimer, Cillian Murphy (the titular Oppenheimer) doing the same with his ticket to Barbie. 

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This, of course, led the masses to grow the meme past the internet, earning both movies a much higher grossing opening weekend than what anyone expected. And ticket sales have continued to skyrocket. Barbie, barely a month into its run at theaters, has already made a mind-boggling $1.18 billion. Oppenheimer, on the other hand, has made over $552 million, both of which are millions more than what the studios expected.

Barbenheimer has only continued to gain traction in the meantime. As audiences watch either movie, all notice an existentialism that is common between them. It is more of a subversive theme for Barbie, but those ideas have only fuelled the fire of creativity and jokes on the internet. Similarly, this has fuelled the fire of traction around theaters, the flow of revenue not slowing down anytime soon, judging from the now $2.76 billion worth of combined revenue. 

Granted, not everyone is happy with the jokes. Japan has banned Oppenheimer from theaters, Barbie’s viewership is suffering overseas, and foreign moviegoers are criticizing Barbenheimer for making light of the country’s traumatizing history with the nuclear bomb. Many citizens of Japan find the juxtaposition of horrifying attacks, such as Hiroshima and Nagasaki, with the cutesy pink aesthetic of a kid’s toy distasteful. The hashtag #NoBarbenheimer spread among the critics. The discord between international moviegoers sparked controversy within Hollywood itself. Warner Brothers released a statement in an attempt to control the backlash coming down on Barbie, stating the studio “regrets its recent insensitive social media engagement,” then took down several “Barbenheimer” posts. Though, it doesn’t seem like the apology was incredibly effective.

With the rise of internet trends engaging with the real world, many wonder whether Barbenheimer jokes will reflect on other movies that release at the same time. Internet users are already making jokes about the next Saw entry and Paw Patrol movies set to release on the same day later this year—the name of ‘Saw Patrol’ already popping up in digital conversations, and photoshopped photos of both franchises combined. However, it has become a common sentiment among audiences that nothing will quite match the earth-shaking influence of Barbenheimer. After all, this pair of movies has already outshined the fantastic movies already released this summer, like Sony’s Spiderman: Across the Spiderverse, Mikros Animation’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem, and Disney’s Elemental. Who’s to say they’ll lose that infamy?

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About the Contributor
Sif Woolf, Reporter
Sif Woolf, a sophomore on the Chandler Wolf Howl team, has big plans. They have a deep respect for life and nature, inspiring their work here as a reporter.  Their driving mantra for joining Newspaper is simple: “Giving people a perspective that they might not have seen before.”  Writing opinions articles is where they shine, and expressing their thoughts on paper has been an excellent outlet.  In the future, Sif hopes to pursue a career in the creative arts with photography, writing, or painting.