The Captain's Log

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The Captain's Log

The Captain's Log

Barbenheimer in retrospect

Overall, both movies were fantastic, but was seeing them on the same day, within hours of each other, a good idea?
Oppenheimer movie poster, image from

In October 2021, Warner Bros announced the fantasy-comedy Barbie would release on July 21, 2023, on the same day as Universal Pictures gritty biopic Oppenheimer. Neither studio could have anticipated the flurry of memes, merchandise and endorsements of the ‘Barbenheimer” phenomenon. The whole driving force of the trend was to see both movies as a double feature in theaters. 


Both movies ended up becoming critical hits, giving a massive boost to the struggling summer box office. But memes about Barbenheimer and t-shirts aside, what was it like to ACTUALLY see both movies on the same day as a double feature? 


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I decided to see both movies in one day over the summer in order to “commit to the bit.” Once I found the chance for a day off from work, I got my tickets and set out on a meme adventure. 


First, I watched Oppenheimer in the morning in a mostly empty theater, which added to the film’s more gritty outlook. This excellent film definitely haunted me as I left the theater. Then, an hour and half later, I saw Barbie. It was a complete tonal shift with more laughs and a generally good feeling remaining in my chest upon watching the movie. 


Overall, both movies were fantastic, but was seeing them on the same day, within hours of each other, a good idea?


In short, yes, if you watch the films in the same order. Both films stick with you and capture your attention, but it won’t affect your immediate viewing of the other. It still is probably best to start the experience with a darker film and end on a happier film. But ultimately, since both films are worth the watch, it makes for a great day. You can be captivated by the incredible acting in Oppenheimer and then sing along with “I’m Just Ken.” 


Another fun part of it is that you feel like you’re a part of a cool trend by enjoying both movies. Movie theaters should be where you go to have fun, and feeling like you’re part of a trend adds to it. Being involved with the online trends is what made seeing Cocaine Bear and Minions: Rise of Gru so fun – it’s like a viewing enhancer. I definitely was excited by just the prospect of “doing Barbenheimer”


At the end of the day, it’s fun to be a part of something cool – not just as a movie fan, but as a person. It was fun to see people excited about the little things, like movies, after what felt like a cacophony of horrible occurrences over the summer, such as violence and natural disasters. I hope everyone who did and still is participating in the trend is having as much fun as I had. 


Note: The results of Barbenheimer cannot guarantee a replication if you attempt to do “Sawpatrol,” seeing Saw X and Paw Patrol: The Movie on the same day.


Pink swirls, image from Unsplash

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