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From the Blog.

The Barbenheimer Takeover

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15. 08. 2023

Movie enthusiast Zoe Kerr is back again to discuss all things cinema in honour of the ongoing Barbenheimer hype. But before we start, Zoe’s first question - what are you doing if you haven't seen either of these two masterpieces in the cinema yet?! Show them what they're missing, Zoe!

Following on from my last blog about the team’s favourite movies, I wanted to delve into the craziness that was the Barbenheimer campaign. If you have been living under a rock for the past few months, you may have missed the uprise in pink everything and the resurfacing of Cillian Murphy.

Barbenheimer will go down in history as the campaign that brought back cinema and for that I applaud the marketing teams behind their absolute mastermind planning. The two movies made such a big impact around the world, and it was all thanks to their marketing strategies. From a real life Barbie dream house in Malibu to the two casts encouraging audiences to watch both movies, they captured the hearts of anticipated viewers.

Yes, I was one of those people who watched both movies the weekend they came out and yes, the hype was deserved for both.

Barbie Campaign

Where do I start?!

I have never seen a marketing campaign quite like Barbie. Greta Gerwig is an absolute genius in her directorial position, causing a global frenzy before and after the release of Barbie. It was impossible to see any colour other than pink for the past few months and I’m not mad about it.

The marketing budget was $150 million, the cost to make Barbie was $145 million…CRAZY!!! The fact that the marketing budget cost more than the actual movie just shows how much time and dedication the team took to get Barbie in front of everyone’s faces and from the endless Barbie trends on social media, it worked very well.

I would be kicking myself if I didn’t mention Margot Robbie’s press tour wardrobe. FAB-U-LOUS!!! The amount of thought and detail into each outfit was unbelievable. Staying true to her role, she channelled every Barbie you could imagine throughout the press tour, and she looked stunning doing it (obviously, it’s Margot Robbie 💁🏼‍♀️)

Oppenheimer Campaign

All I can say is wow. If you love a biopic, then this is the one for you.

The marketing team didn’t go too overboard with their campaign and honestly, I think they were right to stick with what they could get from Barbenheimer and simplify their specific Oppenheimer marketing. The movie is about Robert Oppenheimer, the man responsible for the research and design of the first atomic bomb, and to have a crazy, over the top marketing campaign would take away from the real and authentic impact of the movie.

Instead of covering the world in pink, the Oppenheimer team decided to go for a more informational approach, explaining the behind-the-scenes production and using Christopher Nolan’s directorial fame as a huge part of their campaign. In my opinion, I’ve never seen so much emphasis placed on a director before the release of a movie.

From day one, they released posters confirming the release date and making sure Nolan’s name was smack bang above the title. They knew his name would attract the crowds and (with a little help from Barbenheimer) attract the crowds they did.

Opposites Attract

Barbie and Oppenheimer have absolutely nothing in common in terms of cinematic atmosphere or themes but the reaction to both movies led to a mass of split queues at the cinemas.

Christopher Nolan’s biopic and Greta Gerwig’s cultural icon pastiche have become so successful thanks to the film trick of counterprogramming. This is when complete opposite genres are released near, or on the same day to gain a higher number of audiences. It changes the perspective from “will you go see this movie?” to “which of these movies will you see?” or “which movie do you want to see first?”

The obvious presumption made by audiences was that Barbie was a movie made for women and Oppenheimer was a movie made for men. However, this could not be further from the truth as both movies have captured the hearts and minds of all demographics.

The Outcome

Since the Barbenheimer release, Oppenheimer has made $400.4 million and Barbie has made $775 million, making it the third best performing film of the year. It’s honestly no surprise that Barbie has made almost 3 times the amount as Oppenheimer due to their huge marketing budget and the way they executed the pink bonanza marketing campaign.

However, Barbie received an 88% rotten tomatoes score whereas Oppenheimer received a 93% score. This just proves how vital a marketing strategy can be for an upcoming movie. Although Oppenheimer proves to be a better movie, the team still made less due to having to compete with Barbie’s marketing.

Having watched both movies back to back, I still can’t believe there are people out there who haven’t watched either!! Go and get your coffee, watch Oppenheimer, treat yourself to a bottomless brunch after and then get your Kenergy on for Barbie – it’s the best way to spend the day, trust me 😉

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