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Oppenheimer beats Barbie in Google’s top UK searches of 2023

Oppenheimer was the number one searched for film on Google in the UK this year, the tech giant has revealed.

In second was the Barbie movie, which had the same release date as the Christopher Nolan blockbuster, leading many to dub the phenomenon Barbenheimer.

The dual offerings prompted the biggest weekend for UK cinema-going since 2019, according to the UK Cinema Association.

Barbie European premiere and photocall – London
Margot Robbie arrives for the European premiere of Barbie, which alongside Oppenheimer generated almost £30m at the UK box office (Ian West/PA)

The group said the Greta Gerwig film about the Mattel doll, played by Margot Robbie, and Nolan’s epic about the “father” of the atomic bomb, generated almost £30 million at the UK box office.

In Google’s list of most searched for films in the UK, Oppenheimer inched Barbie to the top spot, with Marvel hit Guardians Of The Galaxy landing in third and Oscar-winning film Everything Everywhere All At Once taking the fourth spot.

The death of Friends star Matthew Perry was the most searched for celebrity death of the year, according to the multinational technology company.

Second to the American actor was singing superstar Tina Turner who died in May at the age of 83 and she was followed by Irish singer Sinead O’Connor who died at the age of 56 in July.

Among the most searched for artists were Unholy singer Sam Smith, rock band Arctic Monkeys, Scottish singer Lewis Capaldi, the recently reformed S Club 7 and American pop star Taylor Swift, who has been announced as Time Magazine’s person of the year.

In terms of TV series, Yorkshire-based drama Happy Valley was the most-searched for show.

The last episode of the British crime series, starring Sarah Lancashire, aired in February this year.

The Graham Norton Show – London
Matthew Perry was the most searched for celebrity death on Google in the UK this year (Ian West/PA)

Google users often search for who, what, where, why and when questions and “When does Love Island start?” became the second most searched for “When…” question this year, behind “When is the Coronation?”.

The coronation of King Charles and his wife, Camilla, took place in May, following on from the Queen’s death in September 2022.

Also this year, the 9th and 10th seasons of Love Island aired on ITV2 with host Maya Jama.

Google also revealed the top global most searched trends of all time, with the Great Wall Of China topping location searches, and climate protester Greta Thunberg leading the search for activists, with Martin Luther King Jr the most searched anti-war activist.

Let It Go by Idina Menzel from the Disney film Frozen was named as the song lyrics most often searched, while blockbuster film Deadpool sparked the most searches for an antihero and rapper Drake generated the most attention on the search engine for an album drop.

Matt Cooke, head of Google News Lab said: “As we reach the end of 2023, it’s refreshing to be reminded of everything we enjoyed throughout the year – which otherwise had its fair share of challenging moments for the UK and the world.

The Fashion Awards 2023 – London
Sam Smith was the most searched for musician (Ian West/PA)

“From David Beckham’s return to the spotlight to Barbie vs Oppenheimer to the highs of England’s sporting successes, we’ve had moments to keep us smiling despite difficult times.

“As Google celebrates its 25th Birthday, it’s also been fun to take a trip down memory lane with our all-time most searched list, seeing Drake taking on The Beatles, and interest in some of the world’s most ancient attractions still going strong.

“It’s also incredibly inspiring to see the stratospheric rise of Greta Thunberg capturing hearts and minds across the world and the enduring legacy of Martin Luther King Jr doing the same.

“As always, we’re thrilled that people worldwide continue to turn to Google when they want to learn, discover, explore, or simply sing along to their favourite Disney films.”