By: Amy Jin
The film production studio’s greatest momentum could come to a stop in a few weeks.
The duplex release of “Barbie” (a comedy by Greta Gerwig based on the famous Mattel doll) and “Oppenheimer” (a biopic by Cristopher Nolan about the person behind the atomic bomb) has created a popular term known as “Barbenheimer.” This epic duo has resulted in eagerness from movie fans to watch the two most anticipated movie titles of the year back-to-back.
Analysts have predicted that the double movie release could result in record-breaking earnings this weekend: “Barbie” has a chance to top this year’s movie champ, “Super Mario Bros.,” by providing a total above $150 million, and Oppenheimer, in its first weekend, is expected to generate more than $50 million.
Although this is the case, the two movies come at a time when a strike has nearly brought the film-production industry to a standstill.
The Hollywood actors’ strike reached the one-week mark on Friday, when members of the SAG-AFTRA union (a committee fighting for the rights of media artists) joined with the Writers Guild of America (an organization that helps protect the economic and creative rights of its members). The labor actions are likely to both put more new movies on hold and delay more movies set to come out.
“It’s the best of times, it’s the worst of times,” says Michael Moses, the chief marketing officer for Universal Pictures.
Even people cheering for the success of “Barbenheimer” are still shifting between joy and unease. “There are no other Barbie-level blockbusters on the release calendar until Dune: Part Two on Nov. 3, and even that sci-fi sequel could be delayed until next year if the actors’ strike persists.”
This is not the only movie to be delayed, though. The Helen Mirren drama “White Bird” and A24’s Julio Torres comedy “Problemista” were supposed to launch in August but are now without an official release date. Similarly, “Challengers,” a tennis romance starring Zendaya, on Friday abdicated its prestigious slot as the opening-night title at the Venice Film Festival, which begins August 30th. That film, like the Emma Stone comedy “Poor Things,” had been set for theatrical release in September in order to capitalize on a starry press push at Venice. Now “Challengers” has moved to April 2024, according to Deadline.
“Barbenheimer” could restore the love of moviegoing in the present, but there might be fewer titles to push its legacy onward in the future. Scott Sanders (a producer for the adaptation of the musical “The Color Purple”) asked, “Are we going to keep the momentum going from this weekend?” Or are we going to suddenly pull the emergency stop in the next month or two and go back to square one again?”
If the emergency stop is pulled, the films scheduled for 2024 may be discarded to free up space. “Worst-case scenario, every studio on the planet decides to move their fourth-quarter movies into next year,” Sanders mused. “Suddenly, the last contenders for awards are ‘Barbie’ and ‘Oppenheimer.’ Then what happens?”
Source: ‘Barbenheimer’ Is a Huge Hollywood Moment and Maybe the Last for a While - The New York Times (nytimes.com)