Updated On: November 06, 2023 by   Omnia Essawy   Omnia Essawy  

A thunderous showdown is brewing for movie maniacs come summer 2023! July 21st marks the day two highly-anticipated films, Barbie and Oppenheimer, battle head-to-head for blockbuster fame. Helmed by the acclaimed directors Greta Gerwig and Christopher Nolan, the Barbie vs. Oppenheimer battle has already been drumming up fevered hype.

Barbie, starring the stunning Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, brings to life our beloved doll and her love interest Ken. Packed with a star-studded cast of supporting characters, the movie follows Barbie’s escapades as she steps out of her comfort zone for a journey of self-discovery and empowerment.

On the other hand, Oppenheimer takes us on an enthralling trip through time, recounting the achievements and struggles of infamous theoretical physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer and his diligent team during the Manhattan Project. The film boasts an equally impressive cast led by Cillian MurphyMatt Damon, and Robert Downey Jr.

Both movies faced their unique challenges in the production process, with Barbie receiving flak for its casting decisions while Oppenheimer navigated its sensitive subject issues. Regardless, both movies are anticipated to become big box office hits this summer.

So the question is: which one claims the crown? Tossing a coin won’t predict an outcome. After all, both films feature mega award-winning directors at the helm, are equally supported with a budget of 100 million dollars, and sound riveting enough to make us want to do a backflip before they hit theatres! So to help you —and ourselves— make this difficult choice a little bit easier, let’s dive deeper into almost everything that makes those two films the expected blockbuster hits of the season. Maybe we can make an educated decision on which one will win our hearts —and money— when 21 July arrives. 

Barbie vs. Oppenheimer: The Trailers

The trailers for both movies provide a glimpse into what viewers can expect from each film. Barbie, directed by Greta Gerwig, follows the story of the world’s most famous doll as she comes to life and embarks on an adventure-filled journey. The trailer shows Barbie living her all-too-perfect life in various locations around her dazzling and vividly vibrant Barbieland, where you can also see various other versions of Barbies and Kens. 

Oppenheimer, directed by Christopher Nolan, tells the story of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the scientist who led the Manhattan Project during World War II. The trailer focuses on Oppenheimer’s struggles as he grapples with his conscience while trying to develop the atomic bomb. It also features intense scenes of wartime combat and explores themes such as morality and responsibility in times of war.

Both movies surely promise to deliver unmissable cinematic journeys on 21 July. We can’t wait to see which one will capture our hearts first!

The Plot

In the upcoming movie Barbie, starring the charming and dynamic Margot Robbie, we follow the iconic doll on a journey of self-discovery after being forced out of her beloved Barbieland to find herself in an exciting and dangerous new world. As Barbie embarks on daring new feats, she discovers valuable lessons and truths about self-assurance, confidence, and loyalty. 

Oppenheimer, the incredible biopic brought to life by world-renowned director Christopher Nolan, brings us on a gripping journey with physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer during his work on the controversial Manhattan Project to create the world’s first atomic bomb. In a world constantly in flux, Oppenheimer grapples with the profound impact of his work and the moral dilemma it presents, making tough decisions and ultimately discovering just how true we must stay to ourselves, no matter the consequences.

The Directing

The upcoming release of Barbie and Oppenheimer on 21 July is set to be a monumental day for the film industry. Both films are directed by critically acclaimed directors: Greta Gerwig and Christopher Nolan, respectively, both of whom have achieved great success in their cinematic careers.


Greta Gerwig is an American filmmaker and actress who has been nominated for numerous awards throughout her career. She made her directorial debut with the 2017 film Lady Bird, which earned five Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director. Her other notable works include Little Women (2019) and Mistress America (2015). Gerwig’s style of directing is known for its focus on female protagonists, as well as its use of humour and realism to create a unique cinematic experience. 

In Barbie, Gerwig is taking on a modern retelling of everyone’s favourite fashion doll, Barbie. Alongside the amazing talents of Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, Gerwig is revving up to deliver a movie that accurately represents today’s society and its values. This is definitely not the Barbie you grew up with, but she’s better than ever!

Christopher Nolan is an English-American filmmaker who has been nominated for several Academy Awards throughout his career. He is best known for his work on The Dark Knight trilogy (2005-2012), Inception (2010), Dunkirk (2017), and most recently, Tenet (2020). His films often feature complex narratives that explore themes such as morality, dreams, and the power of the human mind. Nolan’s directing style is known for its use of practical camera effects and nonlinear storytelling techniques, as well as its focus on action sequences that are both visually stunning and emotionally powerful.

Nolan is stepping into historical territory with Oppenheimer. Starring Cillian Murphy as the war hero, the movie depicts the incredible life story of J. Robert Oppenheimer, who many know as “the father of the atomic bomb.” Nolan brings the intense complexities of the scientist’s character to the forefront, highlighting his exceptional brilliance as well as his undeniable moral conflicts with creating such a catastrophic weapon.

The Cast 

Both Barbie and Oppenheimer boast quite star-studded casts; this, quite honestly, makes choosing between the two movies even harder. 

Barbie vs. Oppenheimer
Margot Robbie to be the titular character in Barbie 2023

Greta Gerwig’s Barbie features Margot Robbie as the titular character, alongside Ryan Gosling as Ken. Will Ferrell is also set to appear in the movie as the toy company’s CEO. Big names for a big story—we wonder how well it will be told! The supporting cast includes America Ferrera, Simu Liu, Kate McKinnon, Ariana Greenblatt, Alexandra Shipp, Emma Mackey, and Issa Rae.

Barbie vs. Oppenheimer
Actor Cillian Murphy

Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer has quite an impressive cast ensemble of Hollywood A-listers. Led by Cillian Murphy as J. Robert Oppenheimer, the cast of headline names includes Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr, Florence Pugh, and Rami Malek. What a list of names, each of which can carry a blockbuster movie alone. So we can only imagine the type of artistry that will unfold on the screen with such an ensemble under the leadership and vision of Christopher Nolan himself.

While both films may seem like polar opposites at first glance, they both promise to deliver unique experiences for viewers of all ages. Whether you’re looking for a lighthearted adventure or a more serious drama, you’ll find what you need at the theatres on 21 July. 

The Screenplay

Barbie’s upcoming movie will not only be directed by the talented Greta Gerwig but co-written by her and Oscar nominee Noah Baumbach. The film’s script takes Barbie on an exciting adventure of self-discovery, leading her towards previously uncharted directions. Even Margot Robbie, who initially hesitated to take on the project, was reportedly blown out of the water by the screenplay, which she has dubbed one of the best she’s ever read. And with Ryan Gosling also on board, it seems like we’re looking forward to a movie masterpiece!

Oppenheimer is a biography thriller that is also written by its director Christopher Nolan himself, as are most of his directed movies. As previously mentioned, the film follows the infamous story of the creation of the atomic bomb at the hands of the Manhattan Project and J. Robert Oppenheimer. Nolan’s script shines an unfamiliar light on a story that may be familiar to most of us, and as always, he manages to capture a unique essence and different angle that promises to keep us all at the edge of our seats.  

The Theme & Style 

Barbie already has such a bright aura about it that you can almost see Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling literally light up the screen in the few glimpses we’ve seen so far! The trailer showcases the beloved dolls in bold, eye-catching colours that add to the fun and whimsical tone of the movie. No doubt, fashion lovers will be in for a stylish treat as they are transported into Barbie’s world of fashion and fun.

On the other hand, Oppenheimer promises to be a darker and more thought-provoking movie than Barbie. Set in a post-war world, this biopic drama delves into challenging themes such as responsibility and morality. This flick is sure to offer plenty of food for thought and soul-searching moments.

Both of these exciting releases on 21 July 2023 are must-see movies for audiences who crave something new and original. Whether you want to tap into your inner fashionista or explore complex themes, these diverse movies will have you on the edge of your seat from start to finish.

The Cinematography 

The cinematography of Barbie is sure to be a visual feast. The movie takes place in Barbieland, a beautiful and colourful society with various Kens and Barbies. It is sure to be full of vibrant colours and stunning visuals that will draw viewers into the story.

Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer promises to be just as visually captivating. The film follows 2020’s Tenet and is sure to feature Nolan’s signature style of cinematography that has made him one of the best and most acclaimed directors in Hollywood today. With its unique blend of action sequences and visual effects, it will surely be an unforgettable experience for viewers.

Movie fans can certainly expect two equally visually stunning films that will transport them into a whole new and different world from the moment the lights go off in the theatres on 21 July.


It has been reportedly confirmed that the Barbie movie will feature the original score of critically-acclaimed composer Alexandre Desplat who has previously collaborated with Gerwig on the OST (original soundtrack) of Little Women. Even though the details of Barbie OST are still hidden behind the curtain, one thing we know for sure is that it’s going to burst with vibrant colours as pink and candy-coated as Aqua’s iconic track “Barbie Girl.” However, we have sad news for the Aqua fans, as the song won’t feature in the movie. But rest assured! Hopes are still high that the new soundtrack will be as upbeat and catchy as the timeless hit itself!

Now, let’s switch the beat and talk about Oppenheimer. The movie’s score will be composed by Swedish composer Ludwig Göransson, who has previously worked with Nolan on several films. His music is bound to be nothing short of intense and powerful, mirroring the atomic theme of the movie.

We might still need to figure out which movie we’ll be seeing on 21 July; however, one thing we know for sure, this day is going to be a music extravaganza with not one but two magnificent soundtracks to relish!

Box Office Predictions

With two star powers like Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, the Barbie movie turned heads all over the world the second its trailer dropped. Thanks to its lighthearted theme and tone, fun, vibrant vibes, and easier-to-digest storyline, the target audience for this future hit is considerably wider than its launch-day opponent. 

However, as we all know, a Nolan movie does not conform to norms or rules. Known for breaking records as well as exceeding expectations, Nolan knows how to create an instant timeless classic that draws almost everyone into the theatres just to be a part of the unique experiences his movies provide. Moreover, Nolan’s Oppenheimer‘s star-studded crown of a cast is enough to dazzle anyone into booking premier tickets just to see all those powerhouses together in action. 

Ultimately, predicting which of those worthy opponents will emerge victorious in the box office battle on 21 July is nearly impossible. Despite the uncertainty, one thing is certain; we’re guaranteed to have at least one addition to our all-time favourite films list as the summer ends. Whether you’re rooting for the iconic doll and her all-too-perfect world or the father of the atomic bomb and his all-too-gory world, it’s a box-office battle worth getting excited about.

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