By: Eric Liu
On July 21, 2023, in movie theaters around the world, Barbie and Oppenheimer were released; these two theatrical films are connected by their shared release date and the theme of existential dread, but different nonetheless in telling their story. This is huge for Hollywood but recent events could stop that for a while.
Barbie, a movie about the Barbie dolls, and Oppenheimer, a biopic about the inventor of the atomic bomb, has been referred to as Barbenheimer, two movies released on the same day with huge success. But while that was happening, in Hollywood the writers and actors strikes were occurring, which could impact Hollywood’s future success.
What really is Barbenheimer? Nicholas Barber, a writer for the BBC website, wrote,”the tonal contrast between the films was too hilariously stark for social media-users to resist, and soon the scheduling resulted in more of an unofficial partnership than a contest.” (BBC).
Barbenheimer was a term created by social media when it was announced that the Barbie Movie and Oppenheimer would be having the same release date. A rumor due to Barbenheimer being on the same release date was that the Warner Brothers wanted Christopher Nolan's movie, Oppenheimer to fail since Christopher left the Warner Brothers. But by doing so they unintentionally made a connection between the movies that people on social media couldn't resist, resulting in an “unofficial partnership” that directly helped both movies.
As Barbie, a movie about the Mattel dolls has been a hit in the box office, gained back their entire budget in 1 day with more to come, the same can be said about Oppenheimer. Kyle Buchanan, a New York Times writer wrote,““Barbie” will debut well north of $150 million domestically and may even top the opening gross of this year's champ, “The Super Mario Bros. Movie.” “Oppenheimer,” also in its first weekend, is set to make more than $50 million.” (New York Times).
These 2 movies are estimated to make more than $200 Million dollars. Instead of both movies cutting into each other's box office revenue, they both helped each other to gain more cash. Instead of Barbie vs. Oppenheimer, it was Barbie and Oppenheimer, with each other boosting others' sales and giving the other exposure.
With Barbie and Oppenheimer being such a theatrical experience and an all time high for Hollywood that brings into question the writers strike. What are the writers and actors strike? According to Suzy Woltmann, a backstage.com writer, wrote, “The writers strike is a collective action by the WGA in protest of alleged poor working conditions created by the AMPTP; union members will stop providing their services to struck companies”(Backstage).
The AMPTP includes many companies in Hollywood like Disney, The Warner Brothers, Universal, etc. So the writers strike is a protest by writers in order to get better working conditions for them. Some of those conditions include, having low income, no guarantee of getting the actual job, and the fact that they could be easily replaced by AI. The actors strike is essentially the same as the writers strike as most of their protests are the same as the writers strike, such as low income, and no guarantee of actual job. Due to the writers and actors strikes occurring as of now, it would delay many movies that are coming out, and possibly cut Hollywood’s revenue.
Barbenheimer was a huge success, a term created by social media, and they both worked together to help each other gain more money instead of cutting each other's money. Despite the fact that Barbenheimer was such a huge hit, the writers and actors strikes could make sure that no other huge successes like Barbenheimer could happen for a long time.