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Warner Bros Japan Decries Barbenheimer Memes


It’s the summer of Barbenheimer in the west, as the twin successes of Greta Gerwig’s Barbie and Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer have bought a soothing balm to an industry wracked by uncertainty, and plenty of memes to social media. But not everyone is exactly pleased with the latter.

This weekend, “Barbie” was trending on Japanese Twitter—now formally known as X—alongside the hashtagh #NoBarbenheimer, decrying U.S. social media accounts for Barbie engaging with fans posting Barbie/Oppenheimer mashup memes, including commentary from Japanese politicans like Social Democratic Party member Murata Shunichi. Japanese users on X also managed to get a community note attached to a post from the U.S. Barbie movie account where it responded to a Barbenheimer meme post, noting the date and time that the atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.

Now, Warner Bros. Japan has taken to its own local X account for Barbie to release a statement joining people in condemnation. “Because the movies Barbie and Oppenheimer were both released in America on July 21, there’s is currently a movement driven by overseas fans to watch them together (#Barbenheimer), but this is not an official movement,” a translation of the statement released on X reads in part. “We find the reaction to this fan-driven movement from the official American account for the movie Barbie to be extremely regrettable.”

Warner Bros. Japan further noted that it has reached out to the studio in the U.S. to “take appropriate action” for the posts. “We take this very seriously and are asking the American head office to take appropriate action,” the statement concludes. “We apologize to those offended by these inconsiderate actions.”

Barbie is currently scheduled for an August 11 release in Japan. Oppenheimer, meanwhile, has yet to receive a release date in the country. It’s common for Hollywood films to receive delayed releases in Japan, often by multiple months, but given Oppenheimer’s subject material, plans for any eventual release are currently unknown.

io9’s reached out to Warner Bros. U.S. for comment on the statement from its Japanese counterpart, and will update this post if and when we hear back.

Japanese translation provided by Alex Romero.


Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about the future of Doctor Who.



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