Cillian Murphy weighs in on Barbie vs Oppenheimer rivalry

Many have proposed an unofficial ‘double bill’

Louis Chilton
Wednesday 12 July 2023 08:30 BST
Oppenheimer trailer

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas


Cillian Murphy has weighed in on the box office rivalry between the forthcoming films Oppenheimer and Barbie.

The Irish actor, 47, stars as nuclear physicist J Robert Oppenheimer in Christopher Nolan’s biopic, which is released on the same day (21 July) as Barbie next week.

Barbie is based on the popular children’s toy franchise, and is directed by acclaimed Little Women filmmaker Greta Gerwig who wrote the film alongside Noah Baumbach.

Because of the shared release date, much of the online discussion surrounding both films’ releases has focused on a rivalry between the two (tonally disimilar) films. Many people have suggested they will see one after the other on the same day, as part of a unofficial “double bill”.

Asked about the rivalry by IGN, Murphy responded: “I mean, I’ll be going to see Barbie, 100 per cent. I can’t wait to see it.

“I think it’s just great for the industry and for audiences, that we have two amazing films by amazing filmmakers coming out on the same day. You can spend the whole day in the cinema – what’s better than that?”

As well as Murphy, Oppenheimer also features an all-star supporting cast that includes Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr, Florence Pugh, and Emily Blunt.

On Tuesday (11 July), the effusive first critical reactions to the film were shared on social media, with some suggesting that the film ranks among Nolan’s best.

Nolan is best known as the director of blockbuster hits such as The Dark Knight (2008), Inception (2010) and Dunkirk (2017).

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Florence Pugh and Cillian Murphy in ‘Oppenheimer'
Florence Pugh and Cillian Murphy in ‘Oppenheimer' (Universal Pictures)

In a tweet shared after a screening of Oppenheimer, The Associated Press journalist Lindsey Bahr wrote that the film was “a spectacular achievement in its truthful, concise adaptation, inventive storytelling and nuanced performances from Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt, Robert Downey Jr, Matt Damon and the many, many others involved”.

“#Oppenheimer left me stunned: a character study on the grandest scale, with a sublime central performance by Cillian Murphy,” Matt Maytum, deputy editor of Total Film, wrote.

“An epic historical drama but with a distinctly Nolan sensibility: the tension, structure, sense of scale, startling sound design, remarkable visuals. Wow.”

Oppenheimer and Barbie are released in cinemas on 21 July.

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