Warner Bros has issued a response to criticism from its studio branch in Japan regarding the use of memes surrounding the release of the movies Barbie and Oppenheimer. The two films, a fantasy comedy and a historical thriller, respectively, were released on the same day in July, and audiences found the coincidence amusing, dubbing it “Barbenheimer” and expressing their intention to watch both movies on the same day. Both movies have enjoyed success at the box office.
The controversy arose when the official U.S. Barbie Twitter account shared memes depicting a combination of scenes from both movies. One example included an image of Barbie smiling next to the nuclear explosion from the Oppenheimer promotional material. The Japanese Barbie Twitter account expressed its disappointment in a tweet, stating that they found it incredibly regrettable that the American headquarters’ account supported these social media posts. They called for appropriate action to be taken and issued an apology to those who were offended. The hashtag #NoBarbenheimer trended on Twitter in Japan, indicating that many people were disturbed by the way these images seemingly trivialized the impact of the nuclear bomb on Japan.
Warner Bros. responded to the criticism by expressing regret over their insensitive social media engagement. They offered a sincere apology for their actions and have since deleted the tweets in question.
In other news, the next Warner Bros. movie that will be released is Meg 2: The Trench. The film is slated to hit theaters on August 4, 2023.