Warner Bros. Issues Statement After Japan Barbenheimer Criticism

Warner Bros has responded to criticism from its studio branch in Japan over memes surrounding Barbie and Oppenheimer.

Warner Bros has responded to criticism from its studio branch in Japan over memes surrounding Barbie and Oppenheimer.

In July, two drastically different movies—Barbie, a fantasy comedy, and Oppenheimer, a historical thriller—were released on the same day. Audiences were tickled by the event, calling it “Barbenheimer” and vowing to watch both films on the same day. Both films have performed successfully at the box office.

Japan’s Barbie Twitter account responded to how the U.S. Barbie account supported memes of a mash-up between the films, which featured images like Barbie smiling next to the nuclear explosion from the Oppenheimer promotional material. “We consider it extremely regrettable that the official account of the American headquarters for the movie ‘Barbie’ reacted to the social media postings of ‘Barbenheimer’ fans. … We take this situation very seriously. We are asking the U.S. headquarters to take appropriate action. We apologize to those who were offended by this series of inconsiderate reactions. Warner Bros Japan,” reads their tweet.

#NoBarbenheimer trended on Twitter in Japan, as many were disturbed by the way these images allegedly trivialized the effects of the nuclear bomb on Japan. In a statement to Deadline, Warner Bros. responded, “Warner Brothers regrets its recent insensitive social media engagement. The studio offers a sincere apology.” The tweets have since been deleted.

What is the next Warner Bros. movie?

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The next movie is Meg 2: The Trench, which releases on August 4, 2023.