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Barbie and Oppenheimer opening weekend shows decisive winner

People have been pitting Barbie and Oppenheimer against each other since day one, but now we know who out of Greta Gerwig and Christopher Nolan has the crown.

Margot Robbie in Barbie and Cillian Murphy in Oppenheimer

History is made up of some incredible feuds. Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla. Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. And now, 2023 has given us Barbie and Oppenheimer. Barbie‘s bubblegum pink aesthetic vs. Oppenheimer‘s harrowing real-world tale is the stuff that dreams are made of. That said, they should both be thanking each other for essentially saving the movie industry.

All this has meant that, in our minds, the Barbie cast and Oppenheimer cast have essentially gone head-to-head in the biggest battle of new movies we’ve ever seen. (Seriously, the last time something even close to this happened was 15 years ago.) And now that the weekend has been and gone, we can very clearly see the winner standing on high.

In short, Barbie has left Oppenheimer in the dust. If you stepped outside at all over the weekend, you’ll have likely seen groups of women (and men) dressed all in pink, flocking to the movie theaters like cinephile flamingos. All this accumulated in $155 million over its opening weekend, which means it has swiftly become the biggest debut movie of 2023.

That said, Oppenheimer wasn’t a flop in any sense. An $80.5 million opening weekend for a three-hour-long historical moral quandary isn’t anything to turn your nose up at. But still, it doesn’t quite compete against Greta Gerwig‘s exploration of the world’s most famous plaything.

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Part of this success is easily due to the fact that the Barbenheimer phenomenon is the biggest meme-ification of movies in recent memory. Audiences booking themselves in for double features and becoming easily enamored with Barbie’s non-stop marketing slam all contributed to what feels like the biggest weekend for movies we’ve ever seen.

But will Barbie dominate during the awards circuit in the same way that Oppenheimer is likely to? We don’t think so. Barbie was the better movie-going experience in regards to audience enjoyment, but Oppenheimer is arguably the more timeless pick. (That said, this writer loved both equally.)

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If Barbie won the battle, will Oppenheimer win the war? Only time will tell, but for now, movie-goers are the real winner here.

We’ve got comprehensive breakdowns of what we thought of both movies with our Barbie review and Oppenheimer review. We’ve also got answers to your most pressing questions about both, such as the Barbie Proustian joke explained, and how did Christopher Nolan film Oppenheimer?

You can also see if there’s a Barbie 2 release date in the works. And once you’ve seen all that, take a look at all the best movies of all time to keep up your top-tier cinematic experience this week.