Barbenheimer is getting a low-budget movie and somehow I’m surprised. Honestly, I shouldn’t be because mockbusters have been part of the movie industry for eons. For those not in the know, mockbusters are basically knockoff movies that ride the coattails of major blockbusters. It’s been done for animated movies like Puss in Boots. A knockoff came out called Puss in Boots: A Furry Tail. There was even a knockoff of Pixar’s Brave called Kiara the Brave. You even see it in big movies like Transformers. The mockbuster version was Transmorphers. And even B-movies themselves like Sharknado have had their own spin-offs like Monsternado. The point is, mockbusters make money. But I thought WB and Mattel would be a behemoth that no movie would want to take on with their mockbuster.
Then Barbenheimer walked in with her “D-cup, A-bomb” tagline.
Writer, producer, and director Charles Band is behind this low-budget movie mockbuster. And according to The Hollywood Reporter, it’s absolutely a cash grab. “It’s 100% true. 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.” Band has been at this for a while, with him just finishing off his 397th feature Bad CGI Gator. He’s also done other movies like Puppet Master, Ghoulies, Trancers, Demonic Toys, the Evil Bong franchise, and the cult classic Re-Animator.
Now Barbenheimer is getting his distinct humor and campiness on a $1 million budget. For people like you and I, a million dollars doesn’t seem like a low budget. But according to Barbie director Greta Gerwig, the 2023 movie had a budget of about $145 million. So in comparison, Barbenheimer is working on a shoestring budget. The same thing goes for the synopsis and storyline of this mockbuster. This movie tells the story of Dr. Bambi J Barbenheimer, a brilliant scientist doll who lives in Dolltopia. This world of “endless Summers and beach parties” is all that she’s ever truly known. And as expected, because it’s combined with Oppenheimer and needs an adult twist, Dr. Bambi becomes disillusioned when she comes to realize that humans are garbage and treat their dolls like garbage as well. So of course she decides to build a giant nuclear bomb to wipe them out. Also joining her on this adventure is her boyfriend Twink Dollman, who we assume is this version of Ken.
When it premieres it’s absolutely going to get dog piled by critics. B-movies always are dog piled or ignored as they go immediately from production to rental. But there’s something different about Barbenheimer because it’s a cultural touchstone of an idea that really shook up Hollywood. Personally, I would love to go to the movie theater and watch this mockbuster. It’s going to be cringe and so campy as they try to combine pink perfection and Christopher Nolan’s everything, but I’m down. Because it doesn’t feel like Barbenheimer is beating a dead horse as they say. If anything, this movie knows that it’s a joke and is going to lean into that. And with how both these movies were so serious, especially Barbie, I welcome it. Plus I also agree that human children treat Barbie’s like garbage and the patriarchy really does need to go. So go off queen in your make-believe world of Dolltopia with your twink boyfriend.
If this somehow miraculously ends up in theaters I hope that moviegoers give the same energy to Barbenheimer that they did when both Barbie and Oppenheimer were released. I would like to see pink suits and dark and timely dresses with accessories to match. And please post pictures and tag us. We’d love to see all the looks.