Arts & Entertainment

Hollywood needs a win

July 22, 2023
Hey there, Insiders! It’s finally Saturday. If you’ve ever considered living in a van, beware of downsides like the hidden costs that people don’t talk about.


Before you pack up for van life, we have a “Barbenheimer” edition ahead:

But first, the “Barbenheimer” effect on Hollywood.
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Hollywood needs ‘Barbenheimer’

Courtesy of Warner Bros.
Hollywood is going through a rough time. Highly anticipated movies are flopping. Budget cuts and mass layoffs plagued even the largest companies this year. And a historic, dual strike doesn’t have an end date in sight.

The industry could use a win right now. And the release of the “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” movies on the same weekend (a phenomenon called “Barbenheimer”) might just be its answer.

“While there are some signs of life for the theaters this year, Hollywood really needs ‘Barbenheimer’ to work, since so much attention and promotion have been poured into both films, and it comes amid a historic strike situation,” said Insider’s entertainment business correspondent Reed Alexander.

So if “Barbenheimer” soars — the films’ combined opening weekend box offices could bring in more than $200 million — here are a few possible reverberations:

  • Hollywood executives could make the case that the strike is ineffective. Box office wins could give them ammunition to say audiences are still coming and the industry isn’t suffering any real damage from the strike.
  • The unions could leverage box-office success against the executives. “Nobody should have false expectations that success for ‘Barbenheimer’ means that everybody’s getting wealthy together — that’s actually what the strike is about,” Alexander said. Success could give unions the power to say: You just made a lot of money. Now, pay us.
  • It might not impact the strike at all. Actors and writers are striking over long-standing issues like pay and AI in the industry. One successful weekend at the box office won’t cure their deeply entrenched differences.
But if the two movies flop (rest assured: analyst predictions and early numbers suggest otherwise), it would place a glaring spotlight on the threat that streaming services like Netflix have posed to the movies.

Regardless of the outcome, all eyes will likely continue watching the industry in flux.

“A successful weekend at the box office could suggest to people: yes, the industry is going through growing pains,” Alexander said. “But no, it’s not existential. And the industry will survive.”


3 things in ‘Barbie’

Barbie/Mattel, Mario/Amazon, Tyler Le/Insider
  • Big brands like Nike and John Deere are pouring big bucks into Hollywood. The funding model is incredibly clear in “Barbie” with Mattel. But it’s also the perfect advertising hack for all companies vying to reach ad-avoidant customers. Companies are turning their brands into Hollywood’s latest movie star.
  • A guide to all the different Barbies that actresses and actors portray. The star-studded movie has many characters to keep track of. Issa Rae is President Barbie. Dua Lipa is Mermaid Barbie. Simu Liu is Ken. Ryan Gosling is also Ken. And the list goes on.
  • Lawsuits, rejections, and controversies: 60 years of Barbie history that led to the movie. First, people didn’t care much about the news dolls. Then, nearly overnight, Mattel couldn’t keep up with the demand for Barbie after its first-ever commercial aired during the Mickey Mouse Club. The “Barbie” movie is the culmination of the doll’s long, colorful history.
3 things in ‘Oppenheimer’
Julien De Rosa/AFP via Getty Images; Insider
  • An interview with “Oppenheimer” director Chris Nolan. He opened up about why he wanted to tell the story of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the father of the atomic bomb, and other blockbuster topics like his creative process: “I spend months writing notes and thinking about the thing before I’m really ready to start the business of actually writing the script.”
  • The limit (for Imax movies) does exist. The 600-pound film reel for “Oppenheimer” could barely fit into Imax’s film projectors. The three-hour drama stretches 11 miles long.
  • Why Einstein didn’t help develop the atomic bomb — even though he convinced President Roosevelt to build it. Einstein sent a letter that convinced FDR to launch the Manhattan Project (the secretive project to build nuclear weapons). But Oppenheimer led the program instead.
3 things in Hollywood
Warner Bros./Universal
  • Movie theaters are getting a post-pandemic boost from memes. Movies still haven’t bounced back from the pandemic. But memes like those for “Barbenheimer” (contrasting the “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” vibes) and trends like the Gentleminions (dressing spiffily to watch “Minions: The Rise of Gru”) have helped bring in moviegoers.
  • Double trouble: 16 other times two major movies came out on the same day. “Grease” and “Jaws 2” were released on June 16, 1978. “The Princess Diaries” and “Rush Hour 2” came out on August 3, 2001. And many other major movies (including “Toy Story” and “Blade Runner”) have had to share their particular date.
  • Summertime sadness in Hollywood — except for Netflix. Almost every single Hollywood company is going through a rough time. Production is halted. Losses are adding up. And the box office is itching for a hit. But Netflix remains the healthy outlier with its stock soaring and robust content machine.

IRL Barbie Dreamhouse

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Categories: Arts & Entertainment

1 reply »

  1. Be me and don’t watch neither the film for narcissist women wanting to hear how hard they have or the one about war criminals. Stay at home and watch “Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff” instead.

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