July 10, 20232 min read

Hello Barbie, Let’s Go Party: Barbenheimer Fever Takes TV Advertising For A Ride

We can’t help but wonder, what would American physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, the father of the atomic bomb, think about sharing the cinematic (and very, very pink) limelight decades into the future with the irrefutably iconic Barbie? We’d like to think he’d have a sense of humor about it, because in 2023, moviegoers are getting sick with “Barbenheimer” fever.

It’s a Barbie world, and TV viewers are just living in it   

Barbenheimer, a combination of Barbie and Oppenheimer – two highly anticipated July 21st theatrical releases – has captured moviegoers’ attention nationwide. 

In fact, in the past week, trailers for Barbie and Oppenheimer have been the most engaging of any theatrical movie spots airing on national TV. Memes combining the two properties have been going viral, and celebrities have been endorsing seeing both as a fun double feature.

In short, these two friendly box office rivals set to premiere July 21, 2023, aren’t just popular, their marketing has been incredibly effective.


Barbie’s creatives have outperformed the average category ad performance by 146% and Oppenheimer by 77% – meaning TV viewers are that much more likely to engage online with Barbie and Oppenheimer movies as compared to the category average.

Further, EDO research proves that for the typical theatrical movie or streaming ad campaign, viewers are most likely to engage online with a movie or show after viewing an ad on the day of release and in the days following a release. And on average, EDO research has proven that the engagement rate for theatrical movie ads is 70% higher on the day of and days following a release than in the leadup.


So, it’s likely that trailers for Barbie and Oppenheimer have yet to see peak trailer performance, and are enjoying early strong ad performance as a result of Barbenheimer fever.

Despite what you’ve heard, moviegoers are ready to return to theaters

Although some of the summer’s sure-fire hits didn’t perform quite as expected at the box office, theatrical marketing has been working overtime to ensure TV viewers know their options. EDO has seen ad engagement for the Theatrical Movie category increase on a per-person, per-second basis quarter-over-quarter since 2021, with the only exceptions being slight dips in Q3 2022 and Q1 2023.

Ad effectiveness is up 8% for Theatrical Movie spots in Q2 2023 over Q1, and on par with engagement in Q2 2022. 

This means that viewers are still engaged with movie trailers and promos, and with the right story — putting Ms. Barbie and J. Robert Oppenheimer aside — they’re ready to embark on a shared theatrical experience once more.

Ready for your close-up?

If you’ve got a theatrical horse in this race or you’re a creative shop responsible for making sure these promos reach their intended audience, EDO has you covered. Contact us today to learn how Creative Rotation Optimization can ensure the right creative finds the right audience, every time. Now, roll camera, roll sound, and take action on your next big campaign.


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