These Movies Walked, So Barbenheimer Could Run 15 Years Later

These Movies Walked, So Barbenheimer Could Run 15 Years Later
Image credit: Universal Pictures, Warner Bros.

The Barbie and Oppenheimer (collectively known as Barbenheimer) phenomenon is currently the talk of the film industry. However, let’s go back to these movies’ predecessors whose success allowed Barbenheimer to happen in the first place.

On July 18, 2008, two films were released simultaneously – Christopher Nolan ’s The Dark Knight (this director’s movies have the best release-date partners!) and Phyllida Lloyd’s Mamma Mia!. Just like Barbie and Oppenheimer, both pictures went on to achieve immense commercial success.

The second installment of The Dark Knight trilogy has received critical acclaim, numerous awards and nominations, and fan love. The movie is still regarded as one of the best films of all time. Its box office numbers have only proved it further – Nolan’s dark superhero thriller has made $1.006 billion in theaters against a $185 million budget, becoming the highest-grossing film of the year.

While Mamma Mia! may not have been as huge of a deal at the time, it became an instant classic. The lighthearted musical rom-com has received mixed reviews from critics, but audiences have loved it. With a $52 million budget, the movie has managed to make an impressive $694.4 million.

How the times have changed, and yet not really. It is 15 years later, and a similar opposites-attract duo is dominating the box office and pretty much the Internet itself. Nolan’s Oppenheimer has reportedly taken home over $569 million, while Greta Gerwig’s Barbie has already crossed the $1.06 billion mark.

These Movies Walked, So Barbenheimer Could Run 15 Years Later - image 1

In 2008, people were seemingly more into the superhero genre and darker themes than soundtracked feminism and happy endings, judging by the box office. In 2023, audiences are choosing fantasy feminist satire over atomic biopics. Why, though?

Well, we’ve all heard about the superhero fatigue that has been settling in for years now, but more people have also been open to the conversation about feminism and are now even craving related content, hence Barbie’s popularity. Still, Oppenheimer is a great film even if it doesn’t rank first in ticket sales.

Hopefully, quality cinema will follow Barbenheimer’s success in the months (years?) to come.

Which movie did you like better?