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Moviegoers flock to multiplexes to see ‘Barbenheimer’


The director of “Oppenheimer”, Christopher Nolan and Margot Robbie of “Barbie”. Reuters images

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Moviegoers headed to Los Angeles theaters for the first screenings of the frothy comedy “Barbie” and the nuclear weapons biopic “Oppenheimer,” a double feature billed as “Barbenheimer.”

At the TCL Chinese Theater on Hollywood Boulevard, some moviegoers were getting into the global “Barbenheimer” craze, with plans to see both films on the same day.

“I bought my tickets months ago as soon as they became available,” Joey Litvak, 25, said as he walked to a screening of “Oppenheimer” on Thursday.

“I’m going to see Barbie… right after. Barbenheimer”.

Both films open Friday, a simultaneous release dubbed “Barbenheimer,” but they couldn’t be more different.

“Barbie” stars Margot Robbie as the Mattel doll, who lives her idyllic life in Barbie World, until one day she begins to have dark thoughts and flat feet.

“Oppenheimer,” from acclaimed director Christopher Nolan, stars Cillian Murphy as American physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, who oversaw the creation of the atomic bomb during World War II.

“It’s showing that you have two movies that couldn’t seem more different on the surface, but actually appeal to the same audiences,” said Jackie Brenneman, executive vice president of the National Association of Theater Owners.

“It’s very clear that to fully appreciate these movies, you have to experience them with other people,” he added.

Earlier this week, the association reported that some 200,000 people had bought tickets to see both movies on the same day.

Movie buff Christian Cage, 45, said he planned to watch both films before heading to work later in the evening.

“I’m going to be exhausted, but it’s a very hot day here in Los Angeles, so there’s no better place to be than a nice air-conditioned room watching movies all day,” he said.

Many of the fans who came to see “Barbie” dressed in pink and posed for pictures in a makeshift Barbie toy box.

“I love it, it’s like the only toy I used to play with as a kid,” said Claudia Ripper, 39, who came to see “Barbie” with her daughter.

“I used to dress them up and do their hair. … Barbie was my thing. So obviously now that I have a daughter, I want to see her with her. … I love Barbie.”

“Barbie” is expected to gross more than $100 million in theaters in the United States and Canada in its opening weekend, while “Oppenheimer” is projected to gross more than $50 million.

Brenneman forecast strong box office numbers this weekend, which would be good news for the US movie theater business after experiencing a slower rebound in consumer spending post-pandemic than events like sports and concerts.


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Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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