24 JUL 2023

The “Barbenheimer” hit: parallel talent demand growth and opposing demographics

With Warner Bros.’ “Barbie” and Universal’s “Oppenheimer” recently launched, Parrot Analytics has assessed the global demand for talent and audience demographics data for each film prior to its debut.

24 JUL 2023


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With Warner Bros.’ “Barbie” and Universal’s “Oppenheimer” recently launched, Parrot Analytics has assessed the global demand for talent and audience demographics data for each film prior to its debut. The two movies, from diametrically opposing genres, have both received critical acclaim, prompting audiences to discuss a potential double feature of “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” on the same day – aka "Barbenheimer."

The Barbenheimer phenomenon has evolved from a simple meme into 40.000 people (and counting) purchasing the double feature at AMC theaters alone. This warrants a further look at the demand drivers for the two movies, including talent demand for the cast and an understanding of what type of audiences they are likely to draw to theaters.


The global audience demand for both casts has increased significantly in the lead up to their joint debut. The global demand for the cast of “Oppenheimer” increased 201% between April 23 and July 16. Over the same time period, the global demand for the cast of “Barbie” grew 223%.

In both cases, most of this growth has occurred in the last few weeks as marketing for each movie increased, and also as the “Barbenheimer” phenomenon picked up steam. “It is remarkable that the demand for both casts grew at almost the same rate, showing how closely associated with one another each of these movies has become,”  Parrot Analytics said.


Both movies feature ensemble casts with highly recognizable actors, although the “Barbie” stars shine brighter with global audiences than the cast of “Oppenheimer,” at least for now. Barbie herself, Margot Robbie, had by far the highest global demand of any of the two movies' actors heading into opening weekend. From June 17 - July 16, 2023, Robbie was 39.9x more in-demand than the average talent worldwide. This places her into Parrot’s Exceptional demand bucket, meaning she was in the top 0.04% of all talent across all professions during this time.

Meanwhile, before “Oppenheimer,” Cillian Murphy’s highest profile role was as Thomas Shelby in the BBC/Netflix Original “Peaky Blinders.” In the thirty days after that show’s series finale debuted on Netflix in 2022, Murphy’s global demand was 6.76x. During the final lead up to the “Oppenheimer” debut, Cillian Murphy’s demand was all the way up to 18.8x — a 178% increase over his post-“Peaky Blinders” demand.


The audiences for each movie serve as almost mirror images of one another when it comes to both gender and age breakdowns: the “Barbie” audience is 66.2% female, while “Oppenheimer’s” audience is 70.7% male. At the same time, “Barbie’s” audience is significantly younger, with 74.6% under the age of 29, with nearly half (46.6%) below the age of 22. Meanwhile, a majority of “Oppenheimer’s” audience is over 30 (52.9%).

“Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” brought moviegoers back to the theaters in record numbers this weekend, vastly outperforming projections. In detail, “Barbie” claimed the top spot with a massive US$155 million in ticket sales from North American theaters from 4.243 locations, surpassing “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” as the biggest opening of the year.

Meanwhile, “Oppenheimer” also soared past expectations, taking in US$80.5 million from 3.610 theaters in the United States and Canada. The double premiere of “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” was also the first time that one movie opened to more than US$100 million and another movie opened to more than US$80 million in the same weekend.