The summer blockbuster double feature of "Barbie" and "Oppenheimer" has inspired a new movie.
"Barbenheimer," created by a B-movie comedy horror studio, is currently in pre-production.
The tongue-in-cheek spoof film joins a long tradition of parody and B-movie horror.
From the creator of B-movie horrors like "Gingerdead Man vs. Evil Bong" comes a new film inspired by summer's blockbuster double feature: "Barbenheimer."
Charles Band, the veteran horror comedy producer behind Full Moon Features' latest venture, acknowledges the new project is a tongue-in-cheek spoof of the record-breaking phenomenon that was "Barbie" and "Oppenheimer" — and he can see why viewers might consider it a shameless cash grab built on the backs of powerhouse actors Margot Robbie and Cillian Murphy starring in their respective hits this year.
"It's 100 percent true," Band told The Hollywood Reporter. "But it's also an opportunity to have fun with the bizarre coupling of these two movies and the combination of Barbie's vibe and the darkness of Oppenheimer. You mix that together and you have such an opportunity for dark humor."
Set to film next year, "Barbenheimer" will tell the tale of Dr. Bambi J Barbenheimer, a scientist of Dolltopia, as she creates an atomic bomb to end humanity after experiencing brutal treatment at the hands of children using her as a plaything. And thankfully, it won't take five hours to sit through, like a back-to-back showing of its namesake films.
The "Barbenheimer" movie has just a fraction of the budget of the films by Greta Gerwig and Christopher Nolan and is currently in pre-production, working with less than a million dollars to bring the Frankenstinian feature to life. But Band, who is used to working with limited funds, told The Hollywood Reporter that the point of his film is not to approach the level of financial success that "Barbie" and "Oppenheimer" raked in but instead bring a little levity to the media landscape.
"It seems like every other feature is dark and depressing, and it's like, God, we need a little humor going into 2024," Band told The Hollywood Reporter.
Representatives for Full Moon Features, Band's production studio behind films including "Gingerdead Man vs. Evil Bong" and "Zombies vs. Strippers," did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider.
The B-movie tradition
Though critics might scoff at a B-movie combining the premise of two different blockbusters, Band's "Barbenheimer," when finished, will join a long tradition of parody films and quickly-made features that date back nearly 100 years.
B-movies today stem from the 1930s when film production studios, trying to lure customers back to theaters during the Great Depression, began creating "quickies" to promote as double-features. The cheaply made films tended to be just over an hour long, were notably missing any significant stars of the time, and often focused on distinct formula-driven genres with different aesthetics, such as horror, westerns, and musicals, per Turner Classic Movies.
Their commercial success in the 30s helped revitalize movie theaters in the era and has led to the staying power of the B-movie as a genre of its own, evolving to include cult classics like "The Rocky Horror Picture Show," "Elvira: Mistress of the Dark," and "Hobo With a Shotgun."
Parodies, too, have carved out their own niche over the years, often created as low-budget productions like B-movies are. The earliest known parody came roughly 30 years before the proliferation of B-movies, beginning with The Little Train Robbery (1905), which made fun of The Great Train Robbery (1903) by using an all-child cast.
Though not all parodies in the years since have achieved the lasting acclaim of classics like "Airplane!" or "Spaceballs," moviegoers today can still see echoes of the genre regularly appearing in theaters, including "Sharknado" and "Snakes on a Plane" as well as meta-hits like "Cabin in the Woods."
While double billing is no longer particularly popular, Band's creation of "Barbenheimer" harkens back to the days of the classic presentation and contributes a new parody to an iconic part of film history. Only time will tell if Band's latest creation will strike the same chord as the films that inspired it, but viewers will be in for an explosive debut if its tagline — "D-Cup, A-Bomb" — offers any indication.
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