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#10: Are You Still Watching? Barbenheimer Report 💅💣
In The Mood's editors report on the hot gossip, outfits, and takes from the opening weekend of Barbie and Oppenheimer
In this exclusive newsletter feature, In The Mood’s editors Gabrielle Marceau and Sennah Yee report from the frontlines of Barbenheimer’s opening weekend…
What order did you choose to see the films and why?
Gabrielle: I planned on seeing the two films on the same day, to get the real Barbeheimer Experience, but I was assigned to review Oppenheimer so I saw it on Wednesday evening and Barbie the next night with friends.
Sennah: My friends and I did Oppenheimer, then Barbie. I almost wanted the opposite order, purely because Barbie comes first in “Barbenheimer,” but Gabrielle advised ending on a more cheerful note, which I’m VERY glad I did haha.
Where and when did you see the films? What was the attendance like?
S: I felt like a spy with multiple tabs open on double monitors at my desk, trying to coordinate the cinemas, showtimes, runtimes, and break times. I saw both films at the Scotiabank Theater downtown on opening Friday night—Oppenheimer in IMAX at 6:00pm, then Barbie at 9:40pm. Both screenings sold out in advance, with people even in the very front neck-breaking first rows! You could tell instantly who was doing the Barbenheimer double bill based on their outfits.
G: I saw Oppenheimer at the Varsity, the cinema where they play the 70mm auteur films. The last film I saw there was Tár, and the speakers blew out at the loud parts so there was this horrible crackle during the orchestra scenes, so I was worried all the explosions would sound like shit. It was PACKED. Things started to go south when a young woman announced that the film would pay on a DCP (a tweet claimed that the 70mm print was lost in the mail!) A family sat next to me and I was already nervous about how their 6-year-old kid would fare with a 3-hour movie about talking. About 5 minutes in, he whispers to his mom: “Is this what the whole movie is like?” Then he farted twice.
I saw Barbie at the Yonge and Dundas Cineplex, which is in a weird mall downtown. The crowd was mostly young people, some girls and their patient or bemused boyfriends. The room was BUZZING with anticipation. But it did not feel like a normal movie-going crowd. Two girls in front of me kept taking selfies and posting/watching Instagram stories during the movie lol.
What outfit did you wear?
S: I wore a hot pink Calvin Klein sports bra under a tropical shirt, distressed jean shorts, and black platform sandals that remind me of cartoon doll shoes. I debated not wearing the sandals because I know they hurt my (flat, unarched) feet, buuut they completed the look and I figured I was just going to be sitting for 5 hours… so I went for it. By the time we got to the theater I was already texting my friend, asking them to bring me a band-aid for my painful blister that I picked at for most of Oppenheimer.
G: I wore black. I remember a fashion critic saying that you can always tell who the critic is at a fashion show, they (and the designer) are the only ones not wearing an OUTFIT outfit. So I figured I should play the part of the critic and dress down.
What outfits did you see in the audience?
G: As predicted, a lot of people wore pink. but there weren't as many full on looks as I thought. One couple had rollerblades over their shoulders and matching fuchsia Bermuda shorts (hot pink Bermuda shorts were the choice for men, maybe they bought them at the H&M across the street?) There were two tall gay guys in identical white tennis outfits with pink ascots, they looked like preppy, mean Ken Dolls. One girl was wearing head-to-toe fuchsia—like she had fuchsia tights, Mary Jane shoes, long sleeve dress and hair ribbons—the only thing that wasn’t fuchsia was her face! One girl was in a really basic outfit but had a Barbie logo tote bag, which seemed random (did she win it as a prize?) Developing a kind of paranoia that whenever I see someone wearing pink, I think it’s Barbie-related.
S: There were incredible outfits all around—pockets of pink on the subway ride over and outside on the streets, and then a whole sea of pink in the building. Lots of fuzzy pink pompoms in pigtails, sprinkles of leopard prints and florals. One gal was dressed exactly like Barbie’s retro rollerblading outfit in the movie (minus the actual roller blades), another was dressed like cowgirl Barbie in the movie and posed for many photos. A crew of four friends all had these Barbenheimer shirts, split into pink and grey. Even the Cineplex staff wore pink!
What did you eat/drink?
G: Nothing but a small amount of water for Oppenheimer. But before Barbie, my friend and I went to the Jack Astor’s patio that looks out onto the billboards in Dundas Square. There were enormous palm trees and mist was falling on us from little hoses. I got a Caesar salad and a strawberry daiquiri (which feels very ‘90s LA). After the film we all went to the Imperial Pub for pitchers.
S: I begrudgingly switched my outfit-matching purse to a black tote bag so I could smuggle in enough snacks to last me through the marathon. I ate chocolate during Oppenheimer in hopes of it perking me up (it didn’t). Then we had edibles for Barbie and devoured the rest of our snacks (all sour gummies). I chose dehydration over possibly missing the movies due to a bathroom break—but I did sip my friend’s Barbie-themed drink in the Cineplex lounge between screenings.
After Barbie we followed through with our plan to go to Hooters, since their kitchen is open late and they don’t need reservations. I ordered calamari, a new menu item, and we sat on the rooftop patio with a view of the CN Tower lit up in red and white—a welcome break from seeing pink all night.
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Any notable audience reactions?
G: A few people (including me) laughed when Florence was riding Oppie in the chair. Just deeply unconvincing! Sitting in front of us was a middle-aged guy who yelled: “Shut the fuck up!” the second the lights dimmed. He laughed the loudest at all the jokes. People were loud during Barbie but in a really nice way. When the Kens are singing Matchbox 20’s “Push” to the Barbies, I didn't recognize the song at first because people were laughing too loudly. The exact same thing happened in Lady Bird when they were singing Dave Matthews Band’s “Crash Into Me”!
S: Right when the lights turned off for Oppenheimer, some dudes shyly shouted “wooo!” A guy in front of us went on his phone twice an hour. The moment it cut to credits, a gay couple in front of us turned to each other and locked lips in the most passionate, long kiss! I wonder what got them in the mood. Maybe the end of the world, or Cillian’s eyes? 👁️👄👁️
No one clapped at the end of Oppenheimer, but Barbie had applause before, during, and after. People were SCREAMING at the Pride & Prejudice part and the Zack Snyder dig in Barbie, to the point that we couldn’t hear the dialogue that followed! I could feel the Gen Z girls (one of them the aforementioned cowgirl Barbie) behind us cringe at Gloria’s long speech.
Any overheard bathroom gossip?
G: The vibe at the Oppenheimer ladies washroom was incredibly nondescript. And the ladies room lineup for Barbie was way too long. So I used the washroom at a dive bar nearby.
S: The bathrooms were buzzing, it reminded me of a club! No juicy gossip, but while washing my hands, I complimented a Gen Z gal’s outfit—a long pink dress with spaghetti straps and a white shell-like necklace. She complimented my outfit and nails (I got a Barbenheimer manicure, ombre neon pink to neon orange). We find out that we’ll be at the same Barbie screening, and say “see you there!” even though we know the chances are unlikely given how packed the theater is.
Later, walking up to my seat, I hear someone shout “Hi Barbie!”—it’s the same girl, waving at me like in the movie. I do the same thing back. Then in the washroom lineup after the movie, we see each other a third time! After washing our hands, we say “Bye Barbie!” 🥰
I immediately recount this heartwarming tale to my guy friends, then ask if they have any theater bathroom stories to report on. They only had two things to say: every person at the urinals was wearing pink, and there was complete silence.
Any existential crises? Emotional devastation? Thoughts of death?
S: Despite disliking the movie, to my surprise I teared up during *the* bomb scene in Oppenheimer—humans are so smart and stupid, so big-headed and so very small. This spurred a discussion with friends about movies we dislike that still made us cry (Click was the only other one I could think of lol).
During Barbie, I thought about how I look, when I’ll die, and how I’ll look when I die. I teared up during the ending montage—thinking about my mom, being a kid, my mom being a kid—but I didn’t feel the same urge to call her right after the way I did when I saw Lady Bird.
G: Oppenheimer didn’t really deliver the emotional punch I thought it would. But the scene when he gives the speech and the audience goes quiet except for one piercing scream really got me, I felt a kind of deep, psychic shiver.
After Barbie, my boyfriend asked me sincerely if I thought the world would be a better place if it were run by women and not men. It’s interesting that both the films give us these visions of a matriarchal world and our patriarchal past. Barbie also made me think about the way I look. And it made me wonder how Margot Robbie feels about the way she looks.
Do you think the world would be better if it were run by women?
G: It would probably be just as bad but in a different way lol
S: I don’t want the world to be run by anyone 😭
Your sense that film has been saved on a scale from 1 to 10:
S: I’ll say an even 5 (sorry, Libra answer)! I loved seeing giddy groups in coordinated outfits making a whole event of going to the theater—even though we see a version of this at Marvel premieres or rep cinemas, the playfulness of this all felt pretty surreal. But we’re all already lamenting the future of studios desperately trying to mirror this for 45(?!) other toy movies or god knows what else. Unsurprising, though—it unleashed a chain reaction… 💣
G: I’d say 3. I was more hopeful after seeing Barbie, thinking that the studios would have to take note and, at the very least, put more money into marketing their theatrical releases, but now it seems that studios are going to be postponing their fall slate instead of coming to agreement with the unions… so not hopeful.
Fuck Marry Kill: Barbie, Ken, Gloria
G: Marry Barbie, Fuck Gloria, and Kill Ken.
S: Marry Gloria, Fuck Barbie, Kill Ken (imagine the closing song)!
Fuck Marry Kill: Oppenheimer, Kitty, Leslie
G: Fuck Leslie, put Oppie and Kitty out of their misery, and marry Josh Hartnett!
S: Kill everyone… then fuck and marry Josh, too!
If the Barbie you owned lived in Barbie Land, what would her whole deal be?
S: Token Non-Threatening POC Pal Barbie, of course! 💀
G: A lesbian lol, that’s actually what Barbie dolls are for!
Gabrielle Marceau is the Editor-in-Chief of In the Mood Magazine.
Sennah Yee is the Managing Editor of In the Mood Magazine.
BONUS: Themed Playlists 🎵
Perfect for your Barbie pregame or post-movie commute:
Perfect for… honestly, not much except feeling bleak and bad:
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