An 'Oppenheimer' Producer Tried to Get Margot Robbie to Change the 'Barbie' Premiere Date

"I was like, 'We're not moving our date. If you're scared to be up against us, then you move your date.'"

Image by Hamza Rasheed

BY Ben OkazawaPublished Dec 5, 2023

This summer's simultaneous releases of Barbie and Oppenheimer marked one of cinema's most successful opening weekends of all time, combining for the single highest-grossing box office total outside of the Marvel and Star Wars blockbuster franchises.

But, had it not been for Margot Robbie's iron will, the film phenomenon now known as Barbenheimer — which will soon be treated to a comedy spoof — might never have happened. 

The Barbie co-producer and star revealed to Oppenheimer star Cillian Murphy in an Actors on Actors video today that one of his film's producers had approached her about changing Barbie's intended release date in order to avoid the competition.

"I remember one of the producers, Charles Roven, called me, 'cause we had worked together on some other projects, and he was like, 'I think you guys should move your date,'" she recalled. "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 was like, 'We're not moving our date, I just think it'd be better for you to move it.'"

After detailing the back-and-forth with Roven, who she had previously collaborated with on Suicide Squad and The Suicide Squad, Robbie revealed that she was actually excited to share the opening weekend with Oppenheimer.

"I think this is a really great pairing, actually," she remembers telling Roven. "I think it's a perfect double billing, Oppenheimer and Barbie ... clearly the world agreed, thank God."

"I think both of these films showed the appetite that the audience has for cinema," Murphy chimed in. "Audiences don't like being told, 'You should see this or you should see that.' They will decide, and they will generate the interest themselves and I think what happened with both of our movies was a case in point of that, where the audience decided that this was correct and this was right."

And right they were; both flicks landed within Exclaim!'s top 20 movies of the year. Check out our complete rankings here and watch Robbie and Murphy's conversation below. 

Latest Coverage