What order should you watch Barbie and Oppenheimer in?

Many people are attempting to take on the ‘Barbenheimer’ double bill, with both films out now

Louis Chilton
Sunday 23 July 2023 12:17 BST
Oppenheimer trailer

In one of the more bizarre (and entirely unofficial) marketing crossovers of recent years, Friday (21 July) marks “Barbenheimer” day – with Barbie and Oppenheimer hitting cinemas simultaneously.

Oppenheimer is Christopher Nolan’s three-hour biopic about the “Father of the Atomic Bomb” J Robert Oppenheimer, who is played by Cillian Murphy opposite co-stars including Florence Pugh, Robert Downey Jr, Emily Blunt and Matt Damon.

Meanwhile, Barbie, directed by Greta Gerwig, is adapted from the popular Mattel toy franchise, and stars Margot Robbie in the title role and Ryan Gosling as Ken.

With the two films out on the same day, many people have committed to seeing them one after the other, as part of a self-curated double bill.

The radically different tones of the two films has, however, provoked some debate regarding the optimal order in which to view the films.

Some have argued that the lighter tone of Barbie would make it a good pallette cleanser after the intensity of Oppenheimer, while others have claimed that the heavy content of Nolan’s film would overshadow the levity of Barbie, should you watch it in that order.

Many people, including actors and critics, have weighed in on the best order to watch “Barbenheimer”.

Barbie star Issa Rae advised people to “see Oppenheimer first then cleanse your palate with Barbie”.

“I want to have mimosas and drinks and cocktails after Barbie, I don’t want to like, sulk,” she said, during a red carpet interview.

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West Side Story star Rachel Zegler wrote on Twitter: “I think it’ll be Barbie first because i think Oppenheimer will hurt my brain and i would rather not be thinking about it during Barbie.”

Cillain Murphy in ‘Oppenheimer’ and Margot Robbie in ‘Barbie' (Universal/Warner Bros)

Little White Lies film critic Hannah Strong wrote: “I have been considering it and i think Barbie then Oppenheimer is the correct order because we must sit with the weight of humanity’s sins after enjoying some brief joyful respite from the horror.”

Film critic Scott Mantz wrote: “Now that I’ve seen #BARBENHEIMER, I highly recommend watching #BARBIE first, then #OPPENHEIMER! Barbie is really fun, but Oppenheimer stays with you — you don’t wanna be thinking about Oppenheimer while watching Barbie! (Or maybe you do?)”

Robbie and Gosling, meanwhile, proposed their own solution to the quandry.

“It’s a perfect double bill,” said Robbie to AP. “Start your day with Barbie, then go straight into Oppenheimer, and then a Barbie chaser.”

Gosling agreed: “My suggestion would be Barbie first, Oppenheimer for lunch, and then a Barbie chaser.”

You can follow along with the latest updates here, with a frontrunner seemingly emerging in the two-horse race for box office supremacy.

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