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The Official Student News Site of Klein High School

The Bearchat

The Official Student News Site of Klein High School

The Bearchat

Barbenheimer Blast

Ariana+Tran+poses+at+the+Barbie+Movie+in+July.+Photo+courtesy+of+Ariana+Tran.
Ariana Tran poses at the Barbie Movie in July. Photo courtesy of Ariana Tran.
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On Friday July 21, the live action Barbie and Oppenheimer movies began showing in theaters all across the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, coining the nickname “Barbenheimer.”

  Dominating social media, Barbenheimer has created an internet phenomenon with the two movies both being critically acclaimed blockbuster films with completely different genres while sharing a release date. 

Even though the two movies are very different, with Barbie featuring a comedy about self-discovery and Oppenheimer being a war drama about J. Robert Oppenheimer and the creation of the atomic bomb, the two movies gathered a large fan base. Most theaters attempt to minimize the overlap in targeted audiences on opening days by featuring contrasting movies, but Barbenheimer fans have embraced this gap, with custom t-shirts and plans for a Barbie and Oppenheimer double feature. People Magazine reported 20,000 movie tickets sold at AMC theaters for a double feature. 

“In preparation to see Barbie, I went to Target with my friends and we picked out outfits for each other and just made each other the most Barbie we could be. I also made sure I avoided all and every spoiler on social media so I could watch it with a fresh mind,” sophomore London Lamb said. “I refused to wear pink because I don’t have any and I don’t like the bright color. But to keep the festivity, I wore purple like many other Barbie characters. It was really so fun seeing everyone dressed in pink and I’m proud to say I was not involved in the national pink shortage.”

The popularity and breakthrough of Barbenheimer comes at a critical point in the film industry considering the WGA/SAG-AFTRA strikes that have caused the industry to come to a stand still, Vanity Fair reported.

“Oppenheimer left me stunned after initially watching it. So many storylines and character arcs are told in a way that you forget the three hour running time. It offers accurate portrayals of real-world events and gets the audience engaged on an intellectual level, allowing them to still ponder about what was achieved and lost during the Manhattan Project at Los Alamo,” senior Luis Zonenberg said. “Barbie, was an entirely different beast. I was impressed with the many layered messages and lessons that you could pull from this film. It tackles numerous stereotypes and family drama that we constantly see in the real world. It is also a movie about self-discovery and how we don’t need to fit in a certain mold in order to be special.”

The release of Barbie and Oppenheimer brought new records and smashed old records.Together both films created Hollywood history as the first two films to open at 100M+. Oppenheimer broke records for the largest IMAX weekend ever and the director of Barbie, Greta Gerwig, shattered the record for sales in the first weekend for a film directed by a woman.

“Greta Gerwig’s record breaking sales as a woman is well deserved in that fact that it was such a phenomenal movie and I think that Barbie being such a groundbreaking icon in itself makes the whole idea just come full circle. she’s just like her own Barbie for people to look up to,” sophomore Ariana Tran said.

Opppenheimer’s deep topic of World War II and the creation of the atomic bomb left audience members pondering about how their actions can have a huge lasting impact on the world whether they recognize this or not and how life was so different during 1943- 1945. 

“After Oppenheimer, I felt very thoughtful. It made me think about what I would do in a situation like that, or how that would affect my life if I were alive back then,” sophomore Cora Winston said.

With Barbie’s growth and fight to find herself throughout the movie the viewers felt a sense of strength, empowerment and thought it gave them a voice. Some even felt like they watched themselves grow throughout the movie.

“The Barbie movie made me feel really good. It covered a lot of topics I’ve heard spoken of but never featured in a major motion film, especially the casting and the fact that I grew up watching and playing with Barbies made it all the more impactful. I felt like it grew with me and it was just so perfect,” Tran said. “It’s just so real and so special for so many age groups not only because it’s Barbie but also the messages portrayed… It was important that people saw that there were so many variations of Barbies and Kens so everyone could see themselves as a Barbie or Ken.”

The appeal of a Barbenheimer double feature is to experience two very different movies that still have powerful messages.

“Barbenheimer can be seen as the start of a culture shift. Five years ago, superhero movies dominated the box office and had many people talking all over the place about them. Today, they are not as big,” Zonenberg said. “Barbenheimer is clearly showing we are moving on from epic superhero stories and transitioning into a new age where we focus on more grounded, personal storytelling.”

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