Barbenheimer: The Hollywood meme that became cultural.
On July 21, 2023, Hollywood giants Warner Bros Pictures and Universal Pictures simultaneously released films that couldn't be more different from each other. On one side of the spectrum was “Barbie,” an eccentric, vibrant comedy centered around dolls, while on the other was 'Oppenheimer,' a profound 3-hour-long biopic about the scientist responsible for creating the atomic bomb. This cultural phenomenon would soon be known as "Barbenheimer," acclaimed as the savior of Box cinema.
Prior to the release of “Barbenheimer”, theaters forecasted a bleak outlook, marred by a string of subpar years. For example, in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic halted theater attendance, resulting in a meager $2.3 billion in earnings, down from $11.4 billion in 2019. A Gallup poll in 2021 further emphasized this declining trend, revealing that Americans watched a historically low number of 1.4 movies annually. However, it wasn't until Barbie and Oppenheimer turned the tables. AMC Entertainment told the New York Times that over 40,000 people purchased both "Barbie" and "Oppenheimer" in its opening. Additionally, Comscore reported that "Barbenheimer" brought in $246.2 million at the box office, on par with the biggest movie openings ever.