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Photo via Universal Studios

If memory serves, ‘Oppenheimer’ won’t be the first time an epic Christopher Nolan blockbuster faced tough competition

Nolan knows competition.

Long before the ever-popular debate between Greta Gerwig’s Barbie and Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer paralyzed the cinematic realm, moviegoers will fondly remember the time where Nolan’s superhero masterpiece The Dark Knight faced its strongest competition way back in 2008. So before film buffs were coining the phrase Barbenheimer and causing a cultural uproar, Nolan was doing his damndest to fend off 2008’s musical extravaganza Mamma Mia!.

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Before the epic summer battle between Barbie and Oppenheimer officially commences, it’s certainly worth taking a stroll down memory lane to reflect on the 2008 summer box office being electrified with both The Dark Knight and Mamma Ma! being released on the same weekend. As a result, Nolan’s blockbuster project undoubtedly faced its toughest competition — with both hotly-anticipated movies grossing considerably past their respective budgets.

On one hand, it’s fair to conclude that The Dark Knight is the more successful of the two films, with Nolan’s Batman venture securing over $1 billion at the box office while Mamma Mia! grossed a little over $600 million. But despite a $400 million difference between the films, there’s simply no denying that both projects were in stark competition with each other on the same opening weekend — which feels all too familiar for Nolan with the current Barbie vs. Oppenheimer trend.

So with Nolan being familiar with competition, it feels safe to say that he likely isn’t breaking a sweat over the anticipation of Barbie. Even so, it now seems evident that moviegoers (and even Tom Cruise) will head to cinemas to watch both movies as a token of cinematic respect.

Oppenheimer hits theaters on July 21.


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Taylor Mansfield
Fascinated by the art of journalism, Taylor Mansfield has been writing for over 10 years. In the present day, she lends her expertise as a Staff Writer / Editor for WGTC, tackling a broad range of topics such as movies, television, celebrity news, and of course… *anything* horror! Because wherever there is horror — Taylor isn't far behind. She has previously contributed to entertainment sites such as GamersDecide, MovieWeb, and The Nerd Stash.