The weekend that Barbie and Oppenheimer debuted in theaters together became one of the biggest box office weekends ever thanks in part to the groundswell of support that was Barbenheimer. It’s become increasingly rare to see two major studio releases arrive on the same weekend, but there was a lot of love for Barbie and Oppenheimer that started long before the movies came out and has continued in the weeks since. As you can imagine, this has made the summer very interesting for the actual Barbie Oppenheimer. Yes, there is a real Barbie Oppenheimer.
Barbara Oppenheimer is a 68-year-old grandmother and Massachusetts resident who has certainly had an unexpectedly wild summer. While one might think she might not be all that thrilled about the coincidence that has made her name so notable, it seems she’s actually enjoying it all quite a bit. She recently spoke with the New York Post about the "craze" that's impacted her summer.
The Barbenheimer craze has added some more fun to my already good life. It’s been great fun. I’m having a lot of fun with the craze. It’s always important to embrace the serendipity in life, isn’t it?
The coincidence of the name is one thing, but it turns out that Oppenheimer has direct connections to both of her namesake films. While she goes by Barbara now, Oppenheimer says that she literally was Barbie until about the age of 12 and that her name was inspired by the doll, “Because in those days, everyone wanted to be like Barbie.” Beyond that, her last name is no coincidence, as apparently J. Robert Oppenheimer, the character played by Cillian Murphy in Christopher Nolan’s film, is a distant relation to her husband!
Because of the familial connection, Barbara Oppenheimer and her husband went and saw Oppenheimer first (during opening weekend), but they did also go see Barbie a couple of weeks later. She says they enjoyed both films, though she can't pick a favorite due to how different they were.
It was Oppenheimer’s friends and family who apparently really embraced the Barbieheimer trend. She says she got texts from college friends around the world during opening weekend. Her family even got in on the trend, with her son buying a t-shirt to commemorate the experience. Unfortunately, somebody else had beaten him to it. She continued…
My older son bought me a Barbenheimer T-shirt for my October birthday but was disappointed that I already had one.
She’s planning to go see Barbie a second time with some friends who will also join in on the trend of going to see the movie all dressed in pink, and she plans to wear her Barbenheimer t-shirt. Maybe before all the hype dies down she can work out a cameo role for herself in the planned Barbenheimer movie.