Barbie Might Have Failed In Japan Due To ‘No Barbenheimer’ Controversy Or Maybe Due To Its Feminist Tones
Barbie Might Have Failed In Japan Due To ‘No Barbenheimer’ Controversy Or Maybe Due To Its Feminist Tones (Picture Credit: IMDB)

Margot Robbie starrer Barbie performed exceptionally well at the global box-office, easily crossing the rare billion mark. However, the film failed to show its magic in Japan due to ‘#Barbenheimer’ memes. The film has fallen flat in Japan and even tanked at the South Korea and China box office. So, what is the reason for Barbie’s failure in Asia Pacific? It was initially observed that Barbie might have performed poorly due to Barbenheimer memes, but there could be another reason as well. Scroll down to know the details.

Greta Gerwig’s Barbie was released with Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer. While the former has reached the billion mark already, the latter currently stands at $903 million. Tickets for Barbie in Japan sold faster during the initial days but it soon fell flat in the face. Barbie in Japan could only manage ticket sales of $3,883,578.

A Reddit post tried to dissect the reason why Barbie failed in Japan and apart from the memes, it is believed that the Margot Robbie starrer film might have also failed otherwise i.e. sans memes due to its feminist tone. Also, Barbie dolls are not a household name in countries like Japan and South Korea, and this could be another reason why Barbie failed to connect. Also, Japanese are more used to their local toys like “Licca-chan” dolls, and therefore, the audience had no nostalgia factor to fall back on. Unfortunately, the Barbenheimer memes further snowballed the situation. ‘#NoBarbenheimer’ quickly gained a traction in Japan which prompted an apology from the US division of Warner Bros. Let’s also not forget the Hiroshima- Nagasaki Anniversary almost clashed with the release dates of Barbie and Oppenheimer which, of course, did not go down well with the Japanese. Also, Barbie might have failed in Japan as their mainstream comedy differs a lot from American movies as the former ones are not too big on irony and sarcasm.

Take a look:

Would “Barbie” have flopped in Japan even without the “No Barbienheimer” controversy?
byu/WoodyAlien inboxoffice

Social media users also had their say on why Barbie failed in Japan. One user stated, “Hardly a surprise that Barbie didn’t do well in countries where kids didn’t play with Barbie. For general audiences in Japan or Korea, it probably wouldn’t even be entirely clear what the movie is about based on the poster.”

Another stated, “Yeah, well now imagine what it would be like if you couldn’t even recognize that.” A person stated, “I don’t really think the controversy had such a huge impact. It wouldn’t have done well anyway, with little attachment to the IP, satire that won’t always be applicable, and comedy generally being very hard to translate anyway.”

One added, “Comedy esp with social commentary doesn’t always translate and there’s probably also a lack of familiarity with the product.” Another chimed in, “Barbie is not popular in eastern cultures, is that simple. I personally said it before, Barbie is a western thing.”

And, one added, “Barbie and Feminism are both unpopular in China, South Korea, and Japan. A feminist Barbie movie with lots of dialogue and untranslatable humour was never going to attract audiences.”

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