Jul 14, 2023 - News

San Antonio theater tickets selling out fast for "Barbie," "Oppenheimer"

Illustration of Barbie doll hands reaching for a pink "admit one" ticket.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

If you're hoping to see summer blockbusters "Barbie" or "Oppenheimer" when they open next weekend, you'd better grab tickets now.

What's happening: We looked at local screenings, and theaters across San Antonio are selling out quickly for both movies, especially "Barbie."

  • Dress-up and slumber party pajama screenings of "Barbie" at Alamo Drafthouse theaters are already sold out or have just a few seats left.
  • Both movies officially open July 21, but some pre-release screenings start as early as Wednesday.

Why it matters: "Barbie," directed by Greta Gerwig and starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, is the most-hyped movie since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Santikos executive director of sales and marketing Andrew Brooks tells Axios.

What they're saying: "The Barbie buzz is hot," Brooks says, "It cuts across all quadrants of moviegoers."

  • "There hasn’t been this mania since a really big 'Star Wars,' where people are wanting to dress up, they’re wanting to be a part of it," Brooks tells Axios.

Zoom in: Santikos, San Antonio's largest locally owned theater chain, has already sold out showtimes for "Barbie," Brooks tells Axios.

  • But the company adds showtimes daily to meet demand, he says.
  • "We'll have plenty of 'Barbie' and 'Oppenheimer' tickets to go around," Brooks says.

Yes, but: Santikos showings of "Oppenheimer" on 70mm are more likely to sell out. Since it's showing on film, it's harder to add showtimes, Brooks says.

The big picture: "Barbie" mania is setting in across the country, and San Antonio is no exception.

Between the lines: The Barbie PR and marketing teams have been working overtime to make it feel like we are living in a Barbie world, writes Axios' Eleanor Hawkins.

  • "Many people are agreeing that this will be the cultural event of the summer, if not the year," says Lisa McKnight, Mattel's global head of Barbie and dolls portfolio. "Barbie has never been more relevant."

The intrigue: "Barbie" premieres the same day as Christopher Nolan's significantly darker film, "Oppenheimer," a biopic about the man known as "the father of the atomic bomb." It's led many fans and celebrities to plan Barbenheimer double features of the polar opposite movies.

  • In fact, Alamo Drafthouse will automatically enter you to win a prize pack — including a free year of a season pass — if you see both at their theaters on opening weekend.

What's next: Local businesses are offering ways to celebrate the "Barbie" buzz.

Of note: The vote by the Hollywood actors’ union yesterday to strike means actors will no longer be promoting movies like “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer,” per the New York Times.

The bottom line: The movies are back, baby.

Dig deeper: Barbie's sociocultural meaning in 2023


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