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Is this Disney vs Universal Weekend the Next Barbenheimer?

disney vs universal pictures next barbenheimer barbie oppenheimer box office mufasa lion king despicable me social media movie theater film meme opening weekend
Credit: Universal Pictures, Warner Bros, Disney, Canva

The movie-going experience has taken a big hit over the years due to the ease and convenience of streaming services and the aftershocks of the COVID-19 pandemic. The simultaneous summer release of two major big hit pictures, Barbie and Oppenheimer, revitalized audiences’ love for the big screen. Thus, Barbenheimer was born – a double feature opening weekend celebrating two contrasting movies that made an event of going to the movie theater!

While both films were acclaimed by both regular audiences and critics alike, there’s no doubt the power of the films together was what made the box office numbers soar. Now that big studios see what works, it’s likely opposing movie entities could attempt to work together for the mutual benefit of their usually rival feature films.

The Hollywood Handle announced on X (formerly Twitter) that Disney’s Mufasa: The Lion King and Universal Pictures’ Despicable Me 4 will premiere the same summer holiday weekend in July 2024. Mufasa is set for July 5, while Despicable Me is set for July 4. Could these recognizable, fan-favorite franchises create the next Barbenheimer phenomenon?

We Think Not – Here’s Why

Greta Gerwig’s Barbie from Warner Brothers and Christopher Nolan‘s Oppenheimer from Universal Pictures was a match made in odd couple heaven, and the gods of social media smiled upon them. The films’ starkly different themes, tone, and color palate birthed a global Barbenheimer meme that everyone wanted to get in on. Not to mention the star-studded casts of each flick…

disney vs universal pictures next barbenheimer barbie oppenheimer box office mufasa lion king despicable me social media movie theater film meme opening weekend

Credit: Disney

READ MORE: Disney Reveals Details of ‘Lion King’ Prequel – ‘Mufasa’

The fact is that Mufasa and Despicable Me are just too similar in demographic and come from already well-established franchises. There’s nothing excitingly new to get hyped about ahead of these family films. The star power for these films still exists – Steve Carrell for Despicable Me and (maybe) James Earl Jones for Mufasa – but because their faces don’t appear, just their voices over animated characters, there won’t be a fan pull similar to Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling, and Cillian Murphy.

disney vs universal pictures next barbenheimer barbie oppenheimer box office mufasa lion king despicable me social media movie theater film meme opening weekend

Credit: Universal Pictures

The nail in the coffin for the opening weekend team-up of the Disney and Universal movie is the fact that there’s no catchy way to combine their titles- at least not that I’ve heard of. Muspicable? Desfasa? Mufasicable Me? Despicable Lion…no. See what I mean?

Unless you and social media can come up with something better, I’d say these films are on their own opening weekend.

About Lana Porter

Lana has never lost a Disney Trivia night. Maybe it’s the hundreds of times she’s been to Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, her love for Disney’s ’90’s era hand-animated musicals, or the fact that she’s often likened to cartoon characters, but Disney and its magic have a special place in her heart. Her favorite Disney experiences include the EPCOT Food and Wine Festival, eating Mickey Bars on the PeopleMover, and crying during the Magic Kingdom fireworks show. One day she hopes to be chosen as the rebel spy on Star Tours. When Lana isn’t Park Hopping, she’s at home reading books of all topics, watching her favs on Disney+, or snuggling her two cats, which she swears are not named after Disney characters. She loves surprising people with her knowledge of the Marvel Cinematic Universe but admits she is still catching up with Star Wars. She is happy to combine her excitement for writing with her love for Disney-style storytelling and share what she can with the world!