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Barbenheimer is the Biggest Hollywood Hit of the Year, but the Hype Won’t Last Forever.



By: Nate Lu


The launch of “Oppenheimer” and “Barbie” has been a huge celebratory moment, but an industry on pause has darkened the atmosphere.

This month, with the openings of “Barbie” by Greta Gerwig’s comedy based on a Mattel doll, and Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer,” a story about the mastermind behind the nuclear atomic bomb, we have been handed “Barbenhemier” by pop culture.

Experts have predicted that “Barbie” will debut well north of $150 million and will do even better than this year’s champion of the opening gross, “The Super Mario Bros. Movie.” “Oppenheimer,” has also been predicted to make more than $50 million, a huge achievement for the intense three-hour drama.

Although the celebrations of these two movies are occurring all over the U.S., the dual strike has brought the industry to a near-standstill.

Last Friday, the Holy actors’ strike reached the one-week mark, after the members of the SAG-AFTRA group joined the Writers Guild of America, who have been on strike since May. The labor actions of the two are expected to last for months.

Michael Moses, a Chief Marketing Officer for Universal Pictures stated, “It’s the best of times, it’s the worst of times.” He also noted that in the past days, during the “Barbenheimer” hype, the hatred between the guilds and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, the organization that bargains on behalf of the studios have also grown. The hype about Barbenheimer is good and bad at the same time for the film industry.

After the result of the SAG-AFTRA strike, many upcoming films have had their release dates moved. Many movies such as Helen Mirren’s drama “White Bird” and the A24’s Julion Torre’s comedy “Problemista” were planned to be released in August, but are now without an official release date.

The Toronto and Venice International Film Festival will announce their full lineups throughout the next week. Many people are wondering if they will be sending the movies into theaters due to the “Barbenheimer” drama happening.

Scott Sanders, one of the producers of a new movie-musical adaptation of “The Color Purple,” is deeply worried that he’ll have to go through another phase of deja vu because “In the Heights” was delayed a full year to June 2021 due to the COVID pandemic. The New York Times states, “While Hollywood braces itself for the next strike-related shoe to drop, Scott Sanders is feeling an unwelcome case of déjà vu. As one of the producers of a new movie-musical adaptation of “The Color Purple,” Sanders has spent months poring over a meticulous release strategy for the Fantasia Barrino-led film, due in theaters on Christmas Day. But all of that hard work could be dashed if Warner Bros. delays the movie, as it did three years ago with another Sanders-produced musical: “In the Heights” was pushed a full year to June 2021 because of the pandemic, and then released simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max.” This is a effect of the Barbenheimer hype and how it could potentially delay other movies.

Scott Sanders is also worried about the stop in momentum if they “suddenly pull the emergency stop in the next month or two and go back to square one.” If they were to pull the emergency stop in the upcoming months, it would have an insane ripple effect meaning that theaters would once again be tested and they would be forced to push new movies into next year. Because of this, the year’s awards season would look very, very different.

Sanders says, “Worst-case scenario, every studio on the planet decided to move their fourth-quarter movies into next year. Suddenly, the last contenders for awards are “Barbie” and “Oppenhiemer.” Then what happens?”

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