Film fans will forever remember July 21, 2023, a weekend that shall go down in history for creating one very long and very strange word.


For reasons I cannot really understand, people became transfixed, even obsessed by the notion that two extremely different (but also very exciting) movies were getting released to theaters on the same day: Greta Gerwig’s Barbie, based on the classic kids toy, and Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer, based on the classic nuclear physicist.

Unless you were going to try a very long and tonally disparate double feature, moviegoers would have to make a difficult choice; Barbie or Oppenheimer? (Barbie. Oppenheimer. Always you wrestle inside me, etc.)

Universal/Warner Bros.
Universal/Warner Bros.

READ MORE: The Best Barbenheimer Memes We’Ve Found Online

While Barbie and Oppenheimer were certainly a wildly divergent pair of blockbusters, Barbenheimer was far from the first time two competing Hollywood studios each released notable movies simultaneously to multiplexes around the country. In a few cases, those pairs of movies went on to become massive hits. Sometimes, both movies wound up becoming hugely influential classics to boot.

The list below collects 20 of the most most interesting, strange, or surprising pairs of movies from the last 50 years that were released (at least in the United States) on the exact same day, along with my suggestions for a Barbenheimer style name for each pairing. (I will admit that last part proved to be a little bit more challenging than I expected. But I tried my best.)

Surprising Movies Released on the Same Day

These movies debuted in theaters on the same day, giving cinephiles a tough choice of which to watch first.
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