Two movies, one release date. Greta Gerwig’s pink and playful Barbie features the iconic doll grappling with the real world. Meanwhile, Christopher Nolan’s dark and destructive Oppenheimer tells the tale of the scientist behind the atomic bomb. They seem to have only a premier date in common. That, and plenty of memes surrounding the stark contrast and “correct” viewing order.
Since it was first announced that both movies would open in theaters on the same day, people began to compare them and plan which to watch. With viewers torn between two highly anticipated films, a plan to see both back-to-back emerged: “Barbenheimer.” With a combined runtime of almost 5 hours (not accounting for any break between), it’s an ambitious undertaking.
But wait, before you turn your phone off for a full day at the movies, keep reading to learn some odd and intriguing facts surrounding the films.
1. The DIY double-feature is really happening
Though not originally advertised as a double-feature experience, the number of people who bought tickets to see both movies on the same day has increased dramatically. According to AMC Entertainment, the largest movie theater chain in the world, more than 40,000 people have bought tickets to Barbenheimer! That’s double the amount of people that had bought tickets as of a week before the release date, The New York Times reported.
2. Google got a makeover fit for Barbie Land
If you head over to the search engine, type in “Barbie” and hit enter, you’re in for a shower of sparkles and a positively pink results page. You can also prompt this Barbie experience by searching for Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling, or Greta Gerwing on Google. Go on, give it a try!
3. The first artificial nuclear reaction, pencils, and Ripley’s have one thing in common
Graphite! To prove that a nuclear reaction was possible, scientists at the University of Chicago needed a way to slow down and control the process. They found that graphite, the stuff in pencil lead, would actually slow down neutrons that were emitted during the reaction. This led to the first controlled nuclear chain reaction on December 2, 1942, according to The Smithsonian. So where does Ripley’s come in? By purchasing a piece of nuclear history!
4. The Barbie set caused an international pink paint shortage (well, at least for one company)
During filming, supply chain issues and a freeze in Texas impacted Rosco’s (a company known for making products for the entertainment industry) paint inventory. Set design for the Barbie movie cleared the company of all of their remaining pink paint, so if anyone in the world wanted some of that shade, they would be out of luck!
5. There’s a crater, and an asteroid, named after J. Robert Oppenheimer
Did you know that Moon craters are usually named after lunar scientists, astronomers, and physicists? The person has to have been dead for more than two years before the naming to be considered. Beside the crater on the Moon, there’s also an asteroid, number 67085, named after J. Robert Oppenheimer.
6. Margot Robbie charged fines on set
The actress who plays Barbie charged the cast and crew if they didn’t wear pink on certain days, according to People. “Margot had this pink day once a week, where everyone had to wear something pink,” said Ryan Gosling (who plays Ken). “And if you didn’t, you were fined. She would go around collecting the fines, and she would donate it to a charity.”
7. Oppenheimer didn’t come up with his famous quote
Following the Trinity nuclear test, surrounded by people as they realized the world would never be the same, J. Robert Oppenheimer said, “I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” This quote is actually a line from the Hindu scripture “Bhagavad Gita.”
Recalling the moment in a TV broadcast, Oppenheimer stated, “I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad Gita. Vishnu is trying to persuade the Prince that he should do his duty, and, to impress him, takes on his multi-armed form and says, ‘Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.’ I suppose we all thought that, one way or another.”
8. There’s no writing, or water, in Barbie Land
When showing off the Barbie Dream House to the crew at Architectural Digest, Margot Robbie pointed out something interesting. “There is no water in Barbie Land. There’s no water or fire. There are no elements,” said Robbie. And despite the Barbie font being iconic, there actually isn’t any legible writing in Barbie Land. The “writing” is just kid-like scribbles.
9. There’s no CGI explosions in Oppenheimer
After hearing that there wasn’t any CGI used to create the explosions, some fans speculated that director Christopher Nolan actually detonated an atomic bomb when making the movie. Nolan told The Hollywood Reporter, “It’s flattering that people would think I would be capable of something as extreme as that on the one hand, but it’s also a little bit scary.” He didn’t explain how he created the explosion in the film, but he did say that he used practical effects.
Bonus Fact: Seeing a Ken doll face down in mud drove Ryan Gosling to the role
The character of Ken is a bit different from Gosling’s usual roles. He explained to GQ that his daughters are a bit rough with their Ken doll, and said, “I did see him, like, face down in the mud outside one day, next to a squished lemon and it was like, ‘This guy’s story does need to be told,’ you know?” It goes to show that inspiration can be found in unexpected moments.
Are you planning to see Barbenheimer? If so, let us know in the comments which movie you’re seeing first and why!
By Kelsey Roslin, contributor for Ripleys.com