Dubbed “Barbieheimer,” the joint release of “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” this past weekend was movie fans' most highly anticipated event of the decade so far. Earlier this month, on July 10, AMC Theatres announced that 20,000 people had already bought tickets to see the two films on the same day. That number had ballooned to 40,000 before opening day, July 21.
In fact, ahead of both films’ release, the National Association of Theatre Owners predicted that the “Barbieheimer” double-feature hype would translate to 200,000 people taking in both films on the same day over the weekend.
Well, the hype did not disappoint, with “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” collecting a combined $235 million at the box office — if “Barbieheimer” were indeed one film, that box office total would make it the fifth-highest opening weekend of all time.
In the lead-up to the release of “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer,” we here at BetTennessee.com decided to briefly pause our Tennessee sports betting focus to conduct our own market research experiment by determining the relative interest in each film across the U.S. states. To do so, we looked at Google Trends between July 1 and July 17 and found the relative search volume for the queries “Barbie movie” and “Oppenheimer movie” in each state.
Barbie vs. Oppenheimer Search Volume in Tennessee
Here’s what we found:
Barbie by a Landslide
Surprising no one, moviegoers were far more excited about “Barbie.” Not only did she have the power of Mattel Inc. behind her, but also Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling, and director Greta Gerwig. This is the third hit film for Gerwig after her debut “Lady Bird” and follow-up “Little Women” — adapted from the classic literary novel — delighted audiences and critics alike
But of all the states surveyed in our research, Tennessee had the most interest in “Oppenheimer.”
Based on the book “Prometheus Rising,” a 2005 biography of J. Robert Oppenheimer — who was a theoretical physicist and one of the main architects of the Manhattan Project — “Oppenheimer” is directed by Christopher Nolan. Although his last film “Tenet” was slated to be the savor of cinema-going when it was released in 2020 during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, it largely disappointed.
Nevertheless, Nolan’s new film has been far better received. But given the heavy subject matter revolving around the creation and deployment of nuclear weapons, and its mammoth 3-hour run time, it’s no wonder audiences were more drawn to “Barbie.”
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Jeff Parker is an entertainment writer for BetTennessee.com. A writer for film, television and the internet, Jeff is a life long movie buff, with a Masters Degree in Popular Culture. He lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he works full time as documentary filmmaker and producer.