As we have all seen the opening night premieres of some of the two most highly anticipated films of the year, Greta Gerwig’s Barbie and Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer made massive profit on their opening weekend last week. And the whole irony of the situation that is Barbenheimer. 

If you don’t already know the story, I recommend checking out this article by Insider to read more, 

But to summarize, Christopher Nolan and Warner Bros had a conflict that led Warners Bros to purposely release Barbie on the same night as Oppenherimer as revenge, but ended up benefiting both films. It’s like they always say, “Bad PR is still good PR.” 

But that alone still doesn’t explain the huge success of these films. 

Opposites Attract

For one I think the success of both films has to do with the contrasting “aesthetics” (to say). For example, we have a very bright, fun, pink comedy and a dark, serious, and historical drama. 

This juxtaposition between the “happy sunshine” and the “dark and brooding” has been a commonplace in pop culture for ages. With Netflix’s Wednesday (2022) the two main characters, Wednesday (dark) and Enid (bright) share this same concept. 

I think the reason why audiences are so drawn to these opposing aesthetics is because we see a little of ourselves in both. As not one person completely embodies one or the other, we’re usually a balance between the two which makes it so appealing to watch. 

Immersing the Audience 

Another reason that I believe has led to the success of both films was the encouragement of audiences to dress up according to each film’s aesthetic. Pink and retro inspired clothes for Barbie, and a classic 1940s black monochrome color scheme for Oppenheimer. It simply makes for a more immersive and memorable experience for audiences. 

This is similar to the famous TikTok trend of dressing up in a suit and tux to watch Minions: The Rise of Gru (2022) last year. 

I can only hope films will continue to market their films specifically with audiences in mind. It’s the same reason why so many of us love Halloween, it gives us an excuse to wear clothes we don’t wear often or at all. 

Besides it was such a beautiful memory to have the theaters with all audiences alike proudly wearing pink and being excited to watch Barbie. Even the marketing team and theaters put so much effort and love into decorating the venue with the iconic Barbie doll box and car to take picture with. Not to mention all of the amazing fanarts and edits of trailers combining the plots of both films together.

All of that being said, I think the best thing that has come out of Barbenheimer has to be the memes. Also the fact that both film’s casts support each other makes it all the more wholesome. It truly cements on the whole thing as an iconic staple in Hollywood and film history forever. 

Thank you so much for reading! Comment down below any thoughts you have and do you think films should continue to encourage audiences to dress up? 

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