July 21, 2023, is a date that will likely live on forever in cinematic history. That day, of course, was the release date on the 2023 movie schedule for both Barbie and Oppenheimer. Both films were helmed by prestigious directors, starred A-list ensembles, were critically acclaimed and Barbenheimer crushed at the box office. However, before it became the phenomenon it is, Margot Robbie was asked to move the release date of the Mattel movie. Well, she refused, and she explained why while chatting with the historical drama’s star Cillian Murphy.
While speaking about how Christopher Nolan almost always releases his movies in and around July 21, Margot Robbie explained that she received a call from Oppenhimer’s producer Chuck Roven about the shared release date. He wanted her to move Barbie, and she refused. While speaking to Cillian Muphy on Variety’s Actors on Actors about why she wanted her film to come out on July 21, she said:
Truly, it was the “perfect double billing.” If you look at Barbie’s reviews they’re raves, and if you look at Oppenheimer’s reviews, they’re stellar. Clearly, the two films coming out on the same day didn’t cause any harm, in fact, it actually helped both a lot. As Cillian Murphy and Margot Robbie said:
Cillian Murphy: That was a good instinct.
Margot Robbie: Clearly the world agreed. Thank God.
People really jumped on board with the Barbenheimer double feature. Memes about Barbie and Oppenheimer’s shared release were made for months, Barbenheimer T-shirts were made, and people dressed up as the titular doll and titular nuclear scientist. To say it was a cultural phenomenon isn’t an overstatement, it’s simply a fact. Robbie further explained why she refused to move the date, and why the pairing ended up working so well, saying:
Murphy agreed with her, saying that people “don’t like being told what to do.” He noted that fans decide, and they create interest and hype themselves. Clearly, the fascination of two polar opposite films from beloved directors with incredible casts coming out on the same day caught the world’s attention and created an explosion of a pop culture phenomenon.
Along with the general premises of the two movies sparking interest, the I, Tonya star also noted that fans likely were “itching” for new films from the two directors. Before I knew much about Barbie, I knew I’d see it just because Greta Gerwig was directing it. The same is true for what I knew about Oppenheimer, just knowing Christopher Nolan was behind it was enough to get me into the theater. That, along with a myriad of other reasons, got so many to the cinema to support Barbenheimer, and it was magical.
Both Margot Robbie and Cillian Murphy admitted that no one could have predicted the phenomenon Barbenheimer became. It truly felt like a once-in-a-lifetime cinematic event. Thank goodness, Margot Robbie refused to move Barbie’s release date, because I think it’s safe to say the world is a better place with an event like Barbenheimer in it.
If you want to experience Barbenheimer, you can buy or rent both Barbie and Oppenheimer, and you’ll be able to stream Greta Gerwig’s movie with a Max subscription on December 15.