Barbenheimer is everywhere and here’s how to celebrate it in Toronto

Although they were once foes, fans of Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer and Greta Gerwig’s Barbie have come together to form Barbenheimer, a colourful cinematic trend of explosive proportions. 

It all started when Nolan ended his relationship with Warner Bros after they decided to release their 2021 movies on HBO Max at the same time the movies premiered in theatres, a move he was not shy about criticizing. The director was in high demand and was quickly snatched up by Universal — who agreed to Nolan’s ask for a three-week exclusivity period for Oppenheimer, meaning they could not release any other movies within three weeks of July 21 on either side.

When Warner Bros subsequently announced a July 21 premiere date for Barbie, some cinema lovers questioned whether the move was in retaliation against Nolan. And while it’s more likely that Barbie‘s release date was slated for July 21 well before the Oppenheimer date was publicly announced, some movie critics speculated as to whether the same-day debut would impact Oppenheimer’s premiere week numbers (or vice versa). 

Barbie, of bubblegum pink and Mattel plastic fame, stars Margot Robbie who is expelled from the utopian Barbie Land. On the other hand, Oppenheimer’s Cillian Murphy spearheads the development of the first atomic bomb. Quite the contrasting storylines. 

Regardless, fans began a heated back and forth over which movie they would see — a back and forth that has now evolved into Barbenheimer (also known as Barbieheimer), an epic cross-promotion event that involves everything from fan-made T-shirts combining the movie posters for both into one, to viewers planning a full-day double feature of both movies.

Fans have gone as far as developing an entire aesthetic trend based on their movie-watching schedule. The trend involves adopting a dark aesthetic to watch Oppenheimer in the morning. For some, this means black leather boots, trench coats, black coffee and potentially a cigarette. Then, energy shifts for the evening as Torontonians put on pink, fuzzy cowboy hats, colourful cocktail dresses and enjoy an espresso martini before catching the Barbie film at night.

Local creators have already begun the planning process for how they’ll dress, what they’ll eat and how to throw the perfect Barbenheimer party. 

@shahrukhkhansdimples Who the f is oppenheimer #barbie #barbiemovie #toronto ♬ Barbie World (with Aqua) [From Barbie The Album] – Nicki Minaj & Ice Spice & Aqua

Barbie and Oppenheimer will be in Toronto theatres this week. Scotiabank Theatre seems to be most people’s choice to catch the double feature. But most Cineplex locations are also hosting a double feature, including a V.I.P. option at Oakville, Odeon and Landsdowne. 

Pull out your favourite pink and black clothing items and brew a hot pot of coffee. Barbenheimer is coming!

Article exclusive to STREETS OF TORONTO