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Barbenheimer: The best ways to double-bill Barbie and Oppenheimer

Who doesn't love a double feature?

Barbie and Oppenheimer are set to come out in cinemas on the same day (Warner Bros./Universal)
Barbie and Oppenheimer are set to come out in cinemas on the same day (Warner Bros./Universal)

When it was announced that Barbie and Oppenheimer were being released on the same day a wonderfully unexpected cultural phenomenon was born: Barbenheimer.

Barbie, directed by Greta Gerwig, explores the world of the Mattel toy and her journey into the 'real world' after things about her begin to change, with Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling leading the cast as Barbie and Ken, respectively.

Read more: Oppenheimer: The true story behind the Christopher Nolan film

Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer, meanwhile, tells the real-life story of J Robert Oppenheimer (Cillian Murphy), the creation of the atomic bomb during the Second World War, and the aftermath of it being used in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

It's hard to imagine two more diametrically opposed movies, but both films will arrive in cinemas on Friday this week.

What is Barbenheimer?

L to R: Benny Safdie is Edward Teller and Cillian Murphy is J. Robert Oppenheimer in OPPENHEIMER, written, produced, and directed by Christopher Nolan. (Universal)
Benny Safdie is Edward Teller and Cillian Murphy is J. Robert Oppenheimer in Oppenheimer. (Universal)

The Barbenheimer phenomenon stems from the polar-opposite nature of the two films. Barbie is fun and light-hearted whereas Oppenheimer is dark and thought-provoking.

Read more: Ryan Gosling unleashed his 'Ken-ergy' while promoting Barbie

It was first suggested that the two movies would go head-to-head at the box office, but rather than pit the two films against each other, film fans embraced both.

This has prompted the creation of countless memes, fan posters and even merchandise to celebrate both Greta Gerwig and Christopher Nolan's films at once.

The best ways to double-bill Barbie and Oppenheimer

Ryan Gosling and Margot Robbie in Barbie. (Warner Bros.)
Ryan Gosling and Margot Robbie in Barbie. (Warner Bros.)

The Barbenheimer phenomenon has led to cinephiles suggesting that rather than see one or the other on 21 July they prefer to see both as a double feature.

Read more: Cillian Murphy warns Oppenheimer 'f***s you up a little bit'

There is no wrong way to enjoy the films, fans can choose to watch Oppenheimer first or Barbie first depending on how they wish to end their day.

1. Oppenheimer then Barbie

L to R: Emily Blunt is Kitty Oppenheimer and Cillian Murphy is J. Robert Oppenheimer in OPPENHEIMER, written, produced, and directed by Christopher Nolan. (Universal)
Emily Blunt is Kitty Oppenheimer and Cillian Murphy is J. Robert Oppenheimer in Oppenheimer (Universal)

For example, one way to embrace the double-feature would be to have a coffee (preferably black) and head to the cinema for an afternoon screening of Nolan's intense 3-hour epic.

This can then be followed up by dinner and drinks (cocktails anyone?) before heading back for a screening of Barbie, and at the end of the day viewers are likely to be left in a good mood.

2. Barbie then Oppenheimer

The opposite is of course also perfectly acceptable. Film fans could start their day with brunch (boozy or otherwise) and then go enjoy Barbie together.

Once the drinks have worn off it'll be the perfect time to go for dinner before sitting down to watch the sombre, thought-provoking Oppenheimer in IMAX, and then cinephiles can contemplate the futility of life after they are finished.

3. Different days

Of course, many fans will opt to see the two films on different days, but where is the fun in that?

Margot Robbie in Barbie. (Warner Bros.)
Margot Robbie in Barbie. (Warner Bros.)

The concept of doing a double-feature for Barbie and Oppenheimer has been supported by the cast and creators behind the two movies.

Gerwig, for example, told The Hollywood Reporter: "It’s all love – double up, double up twice. I think you’ve got to see what the experience is, Barbie then Oppenheimer, Oppenheimer then Barbie. I think you’ve got to take all of the journeys.’

Murphy told Spanish publication La Vanguardia: "I can’t wait to see Barbie. I love Margot Robbie, I love Ryan Gosling, I want to see them now.

"I don’t know what the debate is about, although it’s not that I have an overwhelming opinion about it either.

"My advice would be for people to go see both, on the same day. If they are good films, then that’s cinema’s gain."

L to R: Dylan Arnold is Frank Oppenheimer and Matt Damon is Leslie Groves in OPPENHEIMER, written, produced, and directed by Christopher Nolan. (Universal)
Dylan Arnold is Frank Oppenheimer and Matt Damon is Leslie Groves in Oppenheimer. (Universal)

Oppenheimer's Matt Damon took a similarly pragmatic approach saying: "“People are allowed to go see two movies in a weekend. Oppenheimer is one of them!”

Read more: Barbie writer 's*** the bed' with failed movie

Some fans are booking tickets for both films to make their own double feature, the US cinema chain AMC theatres announced on 10 July that 20,000 moviegoers had already booked tickets for both films as a double feature.

UK cinema chain Vue has promised it will be putting on as many screenings as possible of both films — and with super saver tickets available from just £4.99 at select sites, customers can enjoy a DIY double feature for just £9.98 when booked online.

Either way you choose to enjoy Barbie and Oppenheimer, 21 July is looking to be a fun day out at the movies.

Barbie and Oppenheimer will be released in cinemas and IMAX on Friday, 21 July.

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Watch: Ryan Gosling and Margot Robbie talk Barbenheimer