Is Kraven of the Flower Moon the next Barbenheimer?

Chris Tilly
Leonardo DiCaprio and Aaron Taylor-Johnson in Kraven of the Flower Moon.

With Barbie and Oppenheimer combining to create the Barbenheimer phenomenon this summer, we’re looking ahead for double-bills that could follow a similar route, with what we’re calling ‘Kraven of the Flower Moon’ a prime candidate.

It started with a choice, which came about when Barbie and Oppenheimer decided to release on the same date. Two eagerly anticipated blockbusters that meant film fans had to decide which one to watch on opening day.

With Oppenheimer revolving around the creation of the atomic bomb, and Barbie based on a doll, jokes were made about that wild contrast. Gags which morphed into ‘Barbenheimer,’ whereby moviegoers vowed to watch both movies on the same day. And so a craze was born.

This deranged double bill captured the imagination of the world, dominating the conversation on social media, and inspiring memes both bizarre and hilarious. More importantly, it drove huge crowds into cinemas, with both movies exceeding expectations by tens of millions of dollars. Resulting in the fourth most lucrative weekend in U.S. box office history. So what’s next?

Is Kraven of the Flower Moon the next Barbenheimer?

With numbers that big, movie studios are doubtless looking for the next Barbenheimer. While the media will almost certainly try to create another, ignoring the fact that this unexpected turn of events happened naturally and played out organically.

So we’re endeavouring to beat everyone to it, and for us, the smart money is on Sony and Apple pushing Kraven of the Flower Moon as the next Barbenheimer. Sadly not quite a portmanteau, that title is a combination of new Marvel movie Kraven the Hunter, and Martin Scorsese’s period drama Killers of the Flower Moon.

Like Barbenheimer, the subject matters couldn’t be more disparate. Kraven concerns a fictional character who tracks prey using his psychic bond with animals. While Killers is about a real-life spate of murders in a Native American community at the turn of the 20th Century.

The similarities between Kraven and Barbie are minimal, beyond being about popular fictional characters that have had their own comic and toy. But the similarities between their less jovial counterparts are many.

Like Oppenheimer, Flower Moon is based on an acclaimed non-fiction book. Both movies clock in at more than three hours. They’ve received critical acclaim from pretty much all quarters, with Oppenheimer sitting on a Rotten Tomatoes score of 94%, and Killers managing a whopping 97%. While like Christopher Nolan’s film, the Scorsese picture is also predicted to be an Academy Award frontrunner in 2024. If that weren’t enough to light this celluloid fire, there’s also some bad blood attached…

Marty v Marvel

Martin Scorsese has been outspoken in his criticism of Marvel movies. In 2019, he said this to Empire about the MCU: “That’s not cinema. Honestly, the closest I can think of them, as well made as they are, with actors doing the best they can under the circumstances, is theme parks. It isn’t the cinema of human beings trying to convey emotional, psychological experiences to another human being.”

A few weeks later, he clarified his remarks to The New York Times, stating: “Many of the elements that define cinema as I know it are there in Marvel pictures. What’s not there is revelation, mystery or genuine emotional danger. Nothing is at risk. The pictures are made to satisfy a specific set of demands, and they are designed as variations on a finite number of themes.”

Then Marty made his key point – with superhero movies so dominating multiplexes, there’s little room for any alternate programming. As Scorsese puts it: “In many places around this country and around the world, franchise films are now your primary choice if you want to see something on the big screen.”

He ends by stating: “The situation, sadly, is that we now have two separate fields: There’s worldwide audio-visuals entertainment, and there’s cinema. They still overlap from time to time, but that’s becoming increasingly rare. And I fear that the financial dominance of one is being used to marginalize and even belittle the existence of the other.”

Scorsese’s words upset Marvel fans, who were pretty vocal about their displeasure on social media. With most missing his central point about that over-saturation crowding everything non-Marvel out of cinemas.

But Barbenheimer proves there might be hope for non-comic book fare. And now those same fans can put their money where their mouth is come October 6, 2023, as that’s when Marty will be going to war with Marvel, via Kraven of the Flower Moon. Though admittedly, if these double-bills do happen, it’ll be weird seeing dudes dressed in hunting gear watch all 206-minutes of the Scorsese drama.

More potential Barbenheimers

With Babenheimer pushing past $1 billion at the global box office over the next few days, movie studios will be under pressure to replicate that success. And they’ll try by forcing more movies together that have no business being compared. Then, in turn, forcing those double-bills down audience throats with contrived campaigns and moronic memes. All in the name of making a quick buck.

It will be predictable, cynical, and grim. And it might look something like this…

My Big Fat Greek Nun

On September 8, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 clashes with The Nun II, a double-bill that’s likely to give you whiplash no matter what order you watch them in. We can see audiences dressing in Greek habits for this one. And rom-com fans ending up with nightmares.

Saw Patrol

On September 29, Jigsaw will be playing a game against his most powerful opponent yet, with Saw X facing off against the cute canines of PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie. Dog friendly Saw-screenings could be a way to promote this one. Though maybe don’t bring the kids.

The Hunger Trolls

On November 17, eagerly anticipated prequel The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes will battle the might of sequel Trolls Band Together. Can see this one being cosplay all the way, while with songs featuring in both films, don’t rule out the living hell of singalong screenings.

For more of our Barbie coverage, head here. While for Oppenheimer, click here.