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The Barbenheimer phenomenon: Barbie vs Oppenheimer

The two most anticipated films of the year hit cinemas in the US on the same day.

The Barbenheimer phenomenon: Barbie vs Oppenheimer The two most anticipated films of the year hit cinemas in the US on the same day.

A pink Barbie wave has swept the world. For months we have been receiving (random) clips, posters, trailers, photos and videos from premieres and promotional events around the world, of Margot Robbie's outfits inspired by iconic models of the doll, and so on and so forth. There are so many brands that the film (which has yet to hit cinemas but already seems to be becoming a costume phenomenon) has partnered with, and we do not think it's a coincidence that the colour of summer is, you guessed it, pink. To cement this status, a great rivalry ensues, making every story interesting and memorable - whether real or imagined, it does not matter.

 Barbie and Oppenheimer hit the cinemas in the USA on the same day

In the United States, the film directed by Greta Gerwig and starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, and Oppenheimer, a feature film directed by Christopher Nolan and starring Cillian Murphy, Matt Damon, Emily Blunt and Florence Pugh, will see the light of day on the same day (21 July).

The two films could not be more different. One tells the story of the world's most famous plastic doll and imagines her being forced to take a detour into the real world by giving up her perfect life, the other is inspired by the true story of the man who led to the development of the first atomic bomb. One was promoted by, among other things, even renting out Ken's house in Malibu, the other was limited to a more traditional promotional tour that was interrupted early by the actors' strike. Not to mention the photography, atmosphere and colours. There is not much to explain, one look is enough to understand that even from a purely visual point of view they could not be further apart. After all, the Barbie aesthetic is implied and concise, while her 'rival' is a serious product in the most traditional sense of the word, historical, divided into parts in colour and parts in black and white. The directors are almost as opposite as their upcoming films. Gerwig, who is passionate about coming-of-age and women's stories, and Nolan, who (for one reason or another) wants to tell stories about dark men. In short, we are dealing with opposing media products, delivered in opposing ways. Different stories, different approaches. At the end of the day, the only thing they have in common is the release date. And that was enough to start a real feud.

For this reason, and because Gerwig and Nolan are two incredibly much discussed and polarising directors on the internet, with two different but equally passionate bubbles of reference, Barbenheimer was born, the hybrid child, the film meme of the summer, the product that will never be, that has a very precise history and development, even if it is very fast (after all, we are talking about social timing).

Barbenheimer phenomenon

Originally it was the jokes about the simultaneous cinema release, the vague desire to see both films on the same day (with Oppenheimer preceded by a rigorous breakfast of black coffee and cigarettes and Barbie by an alcoholic brunch with her girlfriends), then the race to see which of our favourite characters from books and TV series would see which of the two films, using the films as indicators of one personality or the other. In short, just as there are Tolstoy people and Dostoevsky people, Dior people and Chanel people, street style people and quiet luxury people, now there are Barbie people and Oppenheimer people. Eventually these two collided and merged. Hybrid T-shirts, photo montages, posters, not to mention outfits designed specifically for going to the cinema, are booming. Barbenheimer is the clash of two opposing views of the medium, of art and life. This situation benefits, of course, the films themselves, which experience an even greater hype in their clash, and of course cinema.

@_alaabelkis_ #CapCut barbie all the way
@kendragroves Making a cake inspired by @Barbie Movie and Oppenheimer viral meme!! Who else is seeing both movies on the same day?? Haha Cocktail goodness via @Mads #caketutorial #cakedecorating #caketrends #barbiemovie2023 Cupid – Twin Ver. (FIFTY FIFTY) – Sped Up Version - sped up 8282

First to take over was Tom Cruise, third on the podium of the fine season of the seventh art. His Mission: Impossible - Reckoning with Death saw the light of day on 12 July and it was rumoured that the actor was unhappy about the proximity to the release date of the other two films, which threatened to steal his audience. In response, Cruise launched a pro-cinema campaign, showing up with Barbie and Oppenheimer tickets (and Indiana Jones, here you go) and urging everyone to return to the cinemas. Whether you want to listen to Cruise or not, a helping hand certainly does not hurt, especially in the hot season, and we are sure this imagined rivalry, which is proving more productive and entertaining in terms of online content every day, is a positive boost.

Unfortunately, we will not be able to enjoy it in Italy. Gerwig's film, in fact, will not be released in Italian cinemas until 20 July, while we will have to wait until 23 August for his nemesis. We can only hope that it will be released briefly in autumn to make all our Italian Barbenheimer dreams come true, even if the hype is delayed.