Barbie vs. Oppenheimer: Which Will Come Out on Top?

Fact Checked by Pat McLoone

The most entertaining summer blockbuster might already have opened with the latest “Mission: Impossible” movie, but July 21 looks to be a blockbuster battle between “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer.”

BetMassachusetts decided to venture away from Massachusetts sports betting coverage long enough to see the interest in the highly publicized films.

We used Google Trends to calculate the relative search volume for the queries “Barbie movie” and “Oppenheimer movie” in each state. After completing the trends for the dates 7/1/2023 – 7/17/2023, we determined which film audiences in each state were most interested in seeing.

Massachusetts Barbie vs. Oppenheimer Search Volume

State Barbie Search Volume Oppenheimer Search Volume Winner


Barbie Getting Much Higher Search Interest

According to research by, “Barbie” looks to have the bigger buzz among moviegoers, with around 83% of Massachusetts residents more curious about “Barbie” than “Oppenheimer.”

But “Oppenheimer” has a few big things going for it in Massachusetts. 1. One of the stars of the movie is favorite son Matt Damon. Massachusetts turns out for Damon. (Co-star Scott Grimes is from Lowell, Mass.) 2. The real Oppenheimer went to Harvard, where he majored in chemistry, studied physics, and graduated summa cum laude in only three years. Harvard turns out for one of its own. 3. Director Christopher Nolan is no stranger to making big hit movies. 4. It’s likely to be great. An early review hailed it as a “masterpiece.” 5.

The downside for “Oppenheimer” at the box office is that it’s three hours long and about a theoretical physicist. It’s going up against Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling playing a real-life Barbie and Ken.

Barbie – the doll – has been a pop culture staple for more than 60 years and Massachusetts children played with the dolls in their bedrooms. The atomic bomb forced those same kids to hide under their beds.

The “Barbie” movie has multi-generational appeal and will likely be attended by mothers and daughters together. “Oppenheimer” is for serious adults interested in World War II, atomic weaponry, and how the world almost ended. Sounds like a fun date night, pass the popcorn.

On the flip side, “Barbie” is already angering culture warriors because of the different people playing different Barbies. Massachusetts, however, tends to avoid the culture wars, so this might not be an issue.

My prediction, having seen neither of them, is that “Barbie” has a bigger opening weekend, “Oppenheimer” has longer legs and that “Oppenheimer” picks up more Oscar nominations.

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Howard Gensler
Journalist / Reporter

Howard Gensler is a veteran journalist covering the Massachusetts sports betting market for Before his focus on U.S. sports betting, Howard worked at the Philadelphia Daily News, TV Guide and the Philadelphia Inquirer. Howard is also a founding editor of

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