The online discussion around Warner Bros.’ “Barbie” and Universal’s “Oppenheimer” has inextricably tied the films to each other – and the memes made over these films being the “ultimate double feature” are leading to a boost for AMC Theaters.
The multinational theater chain announced on Monday that with two weeks to go until the two films’ July 21 release, more than 20,000 members of the AMC Stubs loyalty program have already bought tickets to see both “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” on the same day.To accommodate more moviegoers who want to enjoy the “Barbenheimer” double feature, AMC is staggering its showtimes for both films and offering matinee discounts for screenings before 4 PM.
Anyone who wants to do a double feature day will probably have to take advantage of those early times, as “Barbie” has a run time of just under two hours while “Oppenheimer” clocks in at a full three hours, not including trailers which can add up to an extra 30 minutes sitting in the theater waiting for the film to start.
Granted, those who are actually acting on the “Barbenheimer” craze with their wallets will likely be a very small slice of the audience of both of these films. “Barbie” is expected by box office observers and studio execs to be a female-skewing comedy that might draw in a wider demographic if it builds buzz as a funny crowd pleaser. Box office tracking has the film earning an opening weekend of at least $90 million, which would be Warner Bros.’ best opening weekend since “The Batman” back in March 2022
“Oppenheimer,” meanwhile, is an R-rated film whose opening weekend audience will likely consist of hardcore fans of the film’s director Christopher Nolan, and older audiences that are searching for more mature fare in a season loaded with franchise movies. While it remains to be seen how many moviegoers show interest in a film with such a grave subject matter as nuclear weapons, box office sources say “Oppenheimer” has a chance to match the $50.5 million opening of Nolan’s 2017 WWII film “Dunkirk,” which would be a victory for this $100 million production.
But whatever the box office impact of “Barbenheimer” actually is, it is safe to say that it is at least raising interest among some people who might not have otherwise been interested in one or both of these films. At a time when theaters are looking to keep the early summer box office momentum going and studios are trying to find theatrically profitable titles, any cases of “rising tides lift all boats” will be welcomed.