‘Oppenheimer’ vs ‘Barbie’: the battle of July 21

Will the box office be able to handle it?


The film posters for Oppenheimer (left) and Barbie (right), both releasing on July 21.

July 21 will be a massive day for movie theaters all across the world. Christopher Nolan’s 12th film, “Oppenheimer,” a biopic about the creator of the atomic bomb, and Greta Gerwig’s third film, “Barbie,” based off of the popular doll series by Mattel, both release that day.

Christopher Nolan is an acclaimed film director, having directed films like “Inception” and “Interstellar.” He’s a proven filmmaker, working for 25 years in the film industry. Nolan is also a box office giant, having directed “The Dark Knight” trilogy, one of the largest superhero series ever. But after 2020’s “Tenet” was a disappointing flop for Warner Bros., many have wondered if it was due to the confusing nature of the film or the growing pandemic during 2020.

Christopher Nolan behind the camera during the filming of Dunkirk. (HellaCinema)

In contrast, Greta Gerwig is a much less experienced director, only having her directorial debut with 2017’s “Lady Bird.” The film was a critical success, with most people who have watched it loving it.

“I watched ‘Lady Bird’ during quarantine the first time and it really impacted me,” Brenna Pierson, a Wiregrass senior, said. “I love it so much.”

Greta Gerwig at the Berlinale Film Festival in 2018. (Martin Kraft)

In 2019, Gerwig released her sophomore film, “Little Women,” an adaptation of the classic book of the same name. It received similarly high reviews, with a 95% on Rotten Tomatoes. While not being the box office juggernaut Nolan is, Gerwig has provided two amazing films that leave people wanting more.

Now, these filmmakers are both releasing their films on July 21. Both films feature a massive supporting cast, with “Barbie” being headed by Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, and J Robert Oppenheimer being played by Cillian Murphy.

The anticipation for these films has been building, as Oppenheimer’s official trailer has over 40 million views. Barbie’s official trailer, on the other hand, has 19 million views and is rapidly climbing.

“I’m mostly excited for Barbie because of Greta Gerwig,” Tori Picarelli, a Wiregrass senior, said. “I’m anticipating a really fun and campy movie!”

It’s only a few months before these films hit theaters, but there’s only one question that matters now: which one do you see first?