Margot Robbie and Cillian Murphy Discuss the Barbenheimer Phenomenon


Barbie‘s Margot Robbie and Oppenheimer‘s Cillian Murphy have come together to talk about the Barbenheimer phenomenon in July. Their respective movies came out during a sluggish time at the box office and — instead of competing with each other — became a cultural event and unlikely double feature. Greta Gerwig's Barbie made over $1.44 billion worldwide while Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer made $953 million globally.

Due to the SAG-AFTRA strike that began on July 14, Robbie and Murphy were not able to discuss Barbenheimer or the success of each of their respective films until now. The two got together for an exclusive Actors on Actors interview with Variety.

“Congratulations on your reasonably successful film,” said Murphy to Robbie. “You’re a producer on the movie as well. How did you know a Barbie movie would connect with audiences in the manner that it did?”

Robbie replied, “Yeah, 90% of me was certain that this would be a big deal and a massive hit, and 10% of me thought, Oh, this could go so badly wrong. It was all about Greta Gerwig. And it was like, ‘If it wasn’t going to be Greta, then, yeah, this could have been an absolute disaster.'”

Then Robbie asked Murphy, “Did you think so many people were going to watch a movie about the making of the atomic bomb?”

Murphy replied, “No. I don’t think any of us did. Christopher Nolan was always determined that it would be released in the summer as a big tentpole movie. That was always his plan. And he has this superstition around that date, the 21st.”

Barbenheimer Happened Because Neither Studio Would Budge on Moving Their Release Date

Image Credit: Wiki Commons, By RyanAl6 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Robbie said to Murphy, “One of your producers, Chuck Roven, called me, because we worked together on some other projects. And he was like, ‘I think you guys should move your date.' And I was like, ‘We’re not moving our date. If you’re scared to be up against us, then you move your date.' And he’s like, ‘We’re not moving our date. I just think it’d be better for you to move.' And I was like, ‘We’re not moving!' I think this is a really great pairing, actually. It’s a perfect double billing, Oppenheimer and Barbie.

“Clearly the world agreed,” continued Robbie about Barbenheimer. “Thank God. The fact that people were going and being like, ‘Oh, watch Oppenheimer first, then Barbie.' I was like, ‘See? People like everything.' People are weird.”

Robbie seemed impressed with some of the Barbenheimer fan art. “Weren’t there some great ones?” asked Robbie to Murphy. “People are so clever. People kept asking me, ‘So is each marketing department talking to each other?' And I was like, ‘No, this is the world doing this! This is not a part of the marketing campaign.'”

“And I think it happened because both movies were good,” said Murphy. “In fact, that summer, there was a huge diversity of stuff in the cinema, and I think it just connected in a way that you or I or the studios or anybody could never have predicted.”

“You can’t force that or orchestrate that,” added Robbie.

“No, and it may never happen again,” said Murphy about Barbenheimer.

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Author: Robert DeSalvo

Title: Entertainment News Writer


Robert DeSalvo is a professional writer and editor with over 25 years of experience at print and online publications such as Movieline, Playboy, PCH, Fandango, and The A.V. Club. He currently lives in Los Angeles, the setting of his favorite movie, Blade Runner. Robert has interviewed dozens of actors, directors, authors, musicians, and other celebrities during his journalism career, including Brian De Palma, Nicolas Cage, Dustin Hoffman, John Waters, Sigourney Weaver, Julianne Moore, Bryan Cranston, Anne Rice, and many more. Horror movies, sci-fi, cult films as well as gothic, postpunk, and synthwave music are what Robert geeks over.