Jul 9, 2023 - News

D.C. movie theaters selling out "Barbie" opening weekend fast

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

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

D.C. has Barbie fever and, if you don't act fast, you might not be able to grab a ticket to what's being hyped as the hottest movie of the summer.

Why it matters: The pink, dreamy Barbiecore aesthetic is taking over local restaurants and bars ahead of the July 21 "Barbie" premiere, and D.C.'s theaters are fast selling out the opening weekend.

What's happening: Theaters across D.C. are not only preparing to show the film but are planning special events to meet demand.

  • The Alamo theaters in Edgewood and Crystal City are offering a Barbie brunch screening, a pajama party screening, and a party screening that includes collectibles such as a Barbie lunchbox and thermos. Most are already sold out or have limited seating.
  • Interest is high at other theaters, including the Landmark Theaters, where groups are buying out entire theaters for the show.

In Union Market at the Angelika pop-up, an advance screening on July 19 sold out its 98 seats in roughly two hours, general manager Michael Quituisaca tells Axios.

Beyond theaters, Barbie mania has hit bars such as Top of the Gate at the Watergate and McClellan's Retreat in Dupont Circle, where special Barbie menus are being offered.

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

Yes, but: The interest in "Oppenheimer" hasn't been as extreme as "Barbie” in D.C., Quituisaca says.

What they're saying: Barbie has a wide appeal, adds Quituisaca, from kids who play with the toys to adults who grew up with them. Not only that, but the movie is directed by Greta Gerwig, who previously did "Little Women" (2019), another big hit at local theaters.

  • "Overall, I think the number one is because it's a fun summer movie," Quituisaca tells Axios. "You want a fun summer movie. Grab a Prosecco and watch Barbie. C'mon, that sounds beautiful."

Go deeper: Barbie-themed pop-ups and events in D.C.

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