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When Barbie Meets Oppenheimer: Margot Robbie and Cillian Murphy Discuss Their Blockbuster Hits in Epic ‘Barbenheimer’ Conversation

Margot Robbie and Cillian Murphy — she the star of “Barbie,” he of “Oppenheimer” — have shared an experience, one unique in film history. On July 21, 2023, their two movies came out, and instead of cannibalizing one another during a time when box office receipts were sluggish, they actually boosted each other, creating the global phenomenon known as “Barbenheimer.”

On paper, the two movies couldn’t be more different. Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie,” produced by Robbie’s company LuckyChap Entertainment, is the story of the world’s most popular doll, who, after going on a journey to recover from an existential crisis, becomes a woman; Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” is a biopic about J. Robert Oppenheimer, the physicist who oversaw the invention of the atomic bomb. What they have in common, though, is that their directors made wholly original films, ones guided by their inventiveness, and it was the innovative spirit of “Oppenheimer” and “Barbie” that in turn inspired audiences to be creative and participatory in their fandom for both films. The memes, the double-feature TikToks, the costumes people wore to go out to theaters again and again to experience Barbenheimer — after COVID had nearly destroyed in-person moviegoing — “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” proved joy is still to be had (as well as profits, with the box office for “Barbie” at more than $1.4 billion worldwide, and “Oppenheimer” recently crossing $950 million).

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