Barbie Oppenheimer meme depicting margot robbie and cillian murphy.

Barbie vs. Oppenheimer

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Updated Jul 12, 2023 at 11:17AM EDT by Owen.

Added Jun 27, 2023 at 10:57AM EDT by Owen.

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Barbie vs. Oppenheimer refers to the memetic pairing of the 2023 films Barbie (directed by Greta Gerwig, starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling) and Oppenheimer (directed by Christopher Nolan, starring Cillian Murphy) that are set to release in theaters on the same day, July 21st, 2023, and heavily contrasted each other both visually and thematically. In April 2022, it was widely reported that their release dates were the same on Twitter, leading to the initial slew of memes that contrasted their vibes and color palettes (pink vs. black). The trend continued into 2023, spreading to many social media platforms like Instagram, TikTok and Reddit, among others. The comparison eventually inspired the portmanteau Barbenheimer.


On April 26th, 2022, the Twitter[1] account @filmupdates tweeted, "‘Greta Gerwig’s BARBIE and Christopher Nolan’s OPPENHEIMER will both release on July 21, 2023," and attached two, early promo images from the films. The tweet gained roughly 32,200 likes in one year. The tweet was the first of its kind and was quickly replicated by another, film-centric Twitter[2] account @DiscussingFilm, which gained roughly 22,200 likes in the same time period. The information and the optics of the two images placed next to each other inspired a slew of memes. For instance, Twitter[3] user @Srirachachau quickly tweeted on April 26th, "Clash of the titans," gaining roughly 6,400 likes in one year (shown below).

Mr. Chau @Srirachachau Clash of the titans FILM UPORTES Film Updates @FilmUpdates Apr 26, 2022 Greta Gerwig's BARBIE and Christopher Nolan's OPPENHEIMER will both release on July 21, 2023. 7:57 PM. Apr 26, 2022 ●●●


In the days that followed the tweets[1][2] from @filmupdates and @DiscussingFilm, viral Barbie vs. Oppenheimer memes surfaced en masse via quote retweets, replies and individual tweets. For instance, on April 26th, 2022, Twitter[4] user @lovelltrin tweeted, "it’s time to officially choose a side, there will be no switzerland," gaining roughly 46,900 likes in one year (shown below, left). Also on April 26th, Twitter[5] user @NickBuelvas compared the images to the Black and Pink Meme Houses, gaining roughly 2,700 likes in one year (shown below, right).

trin @lovelltrin it's time to officially choose a side, there will be no switzerland. FILM Film Updates @FilmUpdates Apr 26, 2022 Greta Gerwig's BARBIE and Christopher Nolan's OPPENHEIMER will both release on July 21, 2023. 9:41 PM Apr 26, 2022 ● Nikolas @NickBuelvas They're the same picture 7:43 PM. Apr 26, 2022 :

The trend started to spread elsewhere going into May 2022. For instance, on May 9th, 2022, Instagram[6] user @lynncinema posted a meme that used two images of the actor Willem Dafoe (as in the Fresh Willem Dafoe vs. Lighthouse Willem Dafoe meme format) that mimicked the color palettes of the movies, gaining roughly 9,200 likes in one year (shown below, left). The memes also spread to Spanish-speaking circles, evident in a Facebook[7] post from the page Legión Cinéfila on May 2nd, 2022, that used two, color-coded GigaChads, gaining over 900 reactions in one year (shown below, right).

Going to Going to see see Barbie Oppenheimer (2023) (2023) Barbie OPP PPENHEIMER Dos boletos por favor uno para Barbie y otro para Oppenheimer.

Hype for the two movies continued to accumulate going into late 2022, manifesting in memes and videos (on TikTok[8] for example) that continued to contrast them in Barbie vs. Oppenheimer memes. The memes became more commonplace and viral in early 2023. For instance, on January 15th, 2023, TikToker[9] @thats_based portrayed going from the Oppenheimer theater to the Barbie theater using a Mission Impossible scene, gaining roughly 45,800 likes in five months (shown below, left). On May 21st, TikToker[10] @meandthegameyt posted a video of an old woman with an explosion to represent the contrast in films, gaining roughly 5.6 million plays and 742,200 likes in one month (shown below, right).

@thats_based #shialabeouf #fyp #foryou #sigma #oppenheimer #barbie ♬ original sound – speed songs

@meandthegameyt who's going with me to barbie? #barbie #oppenheimer #auntmay ♬ original sound – me&thegame

Barbie vs. Oppenheimer discourse spiked again on June 26th, 2023, when viral tweets[11] surfaced that had a video of a Malibu, California mansion that was a real-life Barbie dream house. On June 26th, Twitter[12] user @bootcutgenes quote retweeted the video, writing, "The Oppenheimer marketing team has an opportunity to do the funniest thing possible," gaining roughly 365,200 likes in one day (shown below).


Barbenheimer is a portmanteau of the words "Barbie" and "Oppenheimer" in reference to the two movies which were set to release on the same date (July 21st, 2023). The word "Barbenheimer" spawned on social media from the Barbie vs. Oppenheimer discourse, gaining its own traction and usage in memes. Many Barbenheimer memes used images that were both pink and black (correlating with the color palettes of both films) as well as images that involved both explosions and girly aesthetics.

Barbie-Oppenheimer Splitscreen

Barbie-Oppenheimer Splitscreen is a spliced image of Margot Robbie and Cillian Murphy edited to evenly align the two stars. The photoshopped image became an exploitable meme template on Twitter and Instagram in June 2023, trending alongside the Barbie vs. Oppenheimer series of memes.

inside you there are two wolves O

Various Examples

Oppenheimer working on the Manhattan Project (It makes him death or smth like that idk, I'm going to see Barbie first so I really don't care) Me changing my personality to watch Oppenheimer and Barbie on the same day All @SUPERHEROAXIS CHRISTOPHER NOLAN'S OPPENHEIMER RELEASING ON JULY 21, 2023 VRSTEC GRETA GERWIG'S BARBIE RELEASING ON JULY 21, 2023
@velmorfilm JULY 21 🫡 #barbie #barbiemovie #edit #cinema #film #oppenheimer #christophernolan #gretagerwig #margotrobbie #cillianmurphy #ryangosling ♬ original sound – velmorfilm

@djxchazza #real #meme #oppenheimer #memes #real ♬ original sound – NFH

Search Interest

External References

[1] Twitter – @filmupdates

[2] Twitter – @DiscussingFilm

[3] Twitter – @Srirachachau

[4] Twitter – @lovelltrin

[5] Twitter – @NickBuelvas

[6] Instagram – @lynncinema

[7] Facebook – Legión Cinéfila

[8] TikTok – @peakyblinders420

[9] TikTok – @thats_based

[10] TikTok – @meandthegameyt

[11] Twitter – @FilmUpdates

[12] Twitter – @bootcutgenes

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