Warner Bros Japan disavows US studio’s support for Barbenheimer tweets

Warner Bros Discovery
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The Japanese arm of Warner Bros has publicly spoken out against its US counterpart’s ‘regrettable’ Barbenheimer social media posts.

One of the reasons that the ‘Barbenheimer’ movement has seen such an organic explosion in public interest is, of course, the stark difference between the two films. Whilst they might coincidentally share a few themes, it’s the binary opposition of tone, aesthetic and subject matter that stoked the interest of the meme crowd and social media users across the world as the two films went head to head at the global box office.

Whilst fans across the world have been having fun with comparing the two films, Warner Bros Japan has publicly remonstrated the actions of its US counterpart for showing official support for social media posts that juxtapose the brightly-coloured iconography of Barbie with imagery of the atomic blasts that laid waste to so many Japanese lives in World War II.

In Japan, the hashtag #nobarbenheimer continues to trend, whilst the Japanese arm of Warner Bros released a statement on Twitter (or is it X now?), publicly dressing down the US studio’s actions, as its official Barbie Twitter account which had ‘liked’ images that Warner Bros Japan deemed to be insensitive.

The statement reads: “We consider it extremely regrettable that the official account of the American headquarters for the movie ‘Barbie’ reacted to the social media postings of ‘Barbenheimer’ fans. … We take this situation very seriously. We are asking the U.S. headquarters to take appropriate action. We apologise to those who were offended by this series of inconsiderate reactions. Warner Bros Japan.”

Oppenheimer is yet to be given an official release date in Japan, where the film’s subject matter will obviously make it a difficult film to sensitively release for Toho, the movie’s local distributor. Both films continue to perform very well in the regions in which they have been released, partly because they are great films – but also because of the viral marketing phenomenon of Barbenheimer.

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