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Margot Robbie Says ‘Oppenheimer’ Producer Asked Her to Move ‘Barbie’ Release, and She Replied: ‘If You’re Scared…Then You Move Your Date’

Margot Robbie revealed to Cillian Murphy during a conversation for Variety’s “Actors on Actors,” presented by “AIR,” that she got a call from “Oppenheimer” producer Charles Roven in which he asked her to change the “Barbie” release date so that it wouldn’t open on the same day as Christopher Nolan’s atomic bomb epic. Roven also produced Nolan’s “Dark Knight” trilogy and worked with Robbie on James Gunn’s “The Suicide Squad.”

“One of your producers, Chuck Roven, called me, because we worked together on some other projects,” Robbie said. “And he was like, ‘I think you guys should move your date.’ And I was like, ‘We’re not moving our date. If you’re scared to be up against us, then you move your date.’ And he’s like, ‘We’re not moving our date. I just think it’d be better for you to move.’ And I was like, ‘We’re not moving!'”

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Variety has reached out to Roven for additional comment.

Universal put Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” on the release calendar for July 21, 2023 first. Warner Bros.’ later announced Gerwig’s “Barbie” would open the same day. Initially, the “Barbie” date generated buzz as Warner Bros. was opening a film opposite a new Nolan tentpole after Nolan left the studio for the first time in two decades to make “Oppenheimer” at Universal. Nolan and Warner Bros. had a falling out over the pandemic release of “Tenet,” although Nolan told Variety last month that no hard feelings exist between the studio and the filmmaker.

Robbie told Murphy during the “Actors on Actors” conversation that she always thought “Oppenheimer” and “Barbie” were a “really great pairing,” which is why she didn’t want to delay her film’s release date.

“It’s a perfect double billing…Clearly the world agreed. Thank God,” Robbie added. “The fact that people were going and being like, ‘Oh, watch “Oppenheimer” first, then “Barbie.”‘ I was like, ‘See? People like everything.’ People are weird…I think they were also really excited by the filmmakers. People were itching for the next Chris Nolan film and itching for the next Greta Gerwig film. To get them at the same time was exciting.”

The films’ opening together on the same date ignited the “Barbenheimer” phenomenon over the summer, which resulted in “Barbie” becoming Warner Bros. highest-grossing release in history with $1.4 billion worldwide and “Oppenehimer” becoming the highest-grossing biopic of all time with a $950 million worldwide.

“I think it happened because both movies were good,” Murphy told Robbie about the response. “In fact, that summer, there was a huge diversity of stuff in the cinema, and I think it just connected in a way that you or I or the studios or anybody could never have predicted.”

Read Robbie and Murphy’s full “Actors on Actors” conversation here.

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