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Moviegoers head to businesses across the Central Coast for “Barbenheimer” trend

Moviegoers head to businesses across the Central Coast to partake in the “Barbenheimer” trend.
Posted at 7:26 PM, Jul 21, 2023

You’ve probably heard about Barbenheimer, the online nickname for the long-awaited release of both Barbie and Oppenheimer.

Crosby, for example, is swirling her way to the movie theaters.

“It's my birthday and I’m going to watch Barbie,” said Crosby.

It’s more than just a doll, it unlocks childhood memories.

“We grew up with Barbies, she grew up with Barbies,” said Elizabeth Lafica, who went to the Downtown Center Cinemas in San Luis Obispo with her daughter. “I'm so happy that they finally made a movie about it.”

The Downtown Center Cinemas is close to selling out thanks to the Barbenheimer effect. Zach Roper and Eliza Escareno went to see both films.  

“We did the Oppenheimer part last night and it was great,” said Roper. “We're back this morning to check out the Barbie part.”

“I definitely want to see the Barbie house in real life and all the Barbies, the different Barbies portrayed is, I think, pretty awesome,” added Escareno.

It’s also a great way to stay indoors.

“It's a mixture of trying to get out of heat […] and then, I'm just motivated to check this stuff out,” said Jeff Curtis, who already watched Oppenheimer.

The Barbie fever is spilling over to other businesses not just theaters. At Tom’s Toys in Downtown San Luis Obispo, there are requests for dolls.

“As more and more people actually see the movie, it'll be even more,” said Olivia Cooper, who is a supervisor at Tom’s Toys. “I would say leading up to the movie coming out and everything, it's probably been like a 30 to 40% increase in customer questions about Barbies.”

Of course, there’s more interest in crafting the perfect Barbie outfit.

“We’ve noticed a lot more people wanting pink, a lot of sparkles, said Makenna Smith, the manager at Lulu Luxe. “Our cowboy hats, and our boots are actually like one of our most popular things going on right now.”

Raul Cortinas, the manager at Tortilla Town, told KSBY News blockbusters mean big business. Last year, it was Top Gun for them.

“It was phenomenal business here,” recalled Cortinas. “People were coming and all the sections of the top of the show, they were stopping before and stopping after.”

 Whether it’s Oppenheimer.

“I can say without a doubt that the score and the sound design and the editing and the gravity of the story is are all profound,” described Curtis.

Or Barbie, moviegoers are looking for a good story.

“Well, I consider myself a very strong woman, but I feel like this will probably help me even empower myself more and empower my daughters and other women that are in my life,” said Lucia Torres, who went to see the Barbie movie in Santa Maria.

The manager at the Downtown Center Cinemas told KSBY News that hundreds of people showed up for the Thursday night premiere of both films. The theater recommends buying tickets ahead of time.