Oppenheimer: Universal Isn't Worried About Competition with Barbie

The weekend of July 21, 2023 is set to see a box office showdown no one could have predicted just a few years ago when Warner Bros. Barbie and Universal's Oppenheimer both debut in theaters. While the two films seemingly couldn't be more different — the former being based on the iconic Mattel toy and the latter a biopic about the so-called "father of the atomic bomb" J. Robert Oppenheimer — buzz about both films has been strong, suggesting that the two films could be in tight competition to top ticket sales. But if you ask Universal boss Donna Langley, they're not worried about how Oppenheimer will fare against Barbie.

Speaking with Business Insider, Langley was asked if the studio had plans to move the release date of Oppenheimer considering that Barbie is slated for release on the same day and it turns out, they do not.

"We like our current date," Langley said.

Langley also said that when it came to Oppenheimer filmmaker Christopher Nolan coming to Universal after having left his longtime partnership with Warner Bros., that was a decision that the filmmaker came to himself — no need for intervention on the part of frequent Universal collaborators such as Steven Spielberg, M. Night Shyamalan, and Jordan Peele.

"What I can say about Chris and Emma is that they are smart enough and seasoned enough to do their homework and make their own decisions," Langley said. "I didn't do that, no"

She added, "The only thing I'll say is we've had a longstanding acquaintance and I made it very clear for a long period of time that we would love to make a movie with them and be their marketing and distribution partners. And I think the timing probably felt just right for this to be the opportunity to do that."

What is Oppenheimer about?

The film is based on Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin's Pulitzer Prize-winning book American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer. In the film, Murphy plays the titular Oppenheimer, a theoretical physicist who was the head of the Los Alamos Laboratory and is among those credited as being "the father of the atomic bomb" for his role in the Manhattan Project, the World War II project that developed the first nuclear weapons. The weapons created by the Manhattan Project were used in the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. 

Who stars in Oppenheimer?

Oppenheimer has an expansive cast that includes Cillian Murphy as J. Robert Oppenheimer,  Kenneth BranaghThe Boys star Jack QuaidMatthew ModineDane DeHaanFlorence Pugh, and Josh Hartnett. Other members of the all-star cast includes Emily Blunt, Robert Downey Jr.Matt DamonBenny Safdie, Michael Angarano, Rami MalekDylan Arnold , David Krumholtz, and Alden Ehrenreich.

Both Barbie and Oppenheimer open in theaters on July 21, 2023.