Barbie vs. Oppenheimer: Which Is Most Searched In Michigan?

Fact Checked by Peter Mooney

This past Friday presented the showdown of the summer, and in a massive upset, it wasn't a matchup across Michigan sportsbooks.

Instead, two heavyweight films went head-to-head at the cinema. And in a refreshing twist in the dawning age of ChatGPT, we're talking about two original films. Not the 7th "Avengers" film or another "Fast & Furious."

It's Greta Gerwig's "Barbie" going up against Christopher Nolan's "Oppenheimer." Two films that have little, if anything, to do with one another. Except for the fact that both filmmakers' devoted fans helped create a fun, albeit massive, culture rivalry ahead of Friday's releases. took a beat from incoming MI sports betting apps and used Google Trends to calculate the relative search volume for the queries “Barbie movie” and “Oppenheimer movie” in each state across the US. After completing the trends for the dates 7/1/2023 – 7/17/2023, we determined which film audiences in each state were most interested in seeing.

“Oppenheimer” landed the first blow when it narrowly edged out “Barbie” with its score (93% to 89%) ahead of both film’s July 21st debut. But “Barbie” scored the knockout punch with a $155 million dollar opening weekend.

Barbie vs. Oppenheimer Search Volume in Michigan

State Barbie Search Volume Oppenheimer Search Volume Winner

Can "Oppenheimer" Win The War?

While there's little doubt Nolan's World War II epic impressed audiences, Google search volume in the state of Michigan strongly backs up the box office data that "Barbie" will be the top draw at multiplexes in the weeks to come.

In fact, based on GLS research, "Barbie" has generated around 5 times the search volume as "Oppenheimer."

How can this be? After all, Nolan is among the most can't-miss filmmakers going. This is the man who gave us Heath Ledger as the Joker in "The Dark Knight." Audiences are still baffled by his twist ending in "Inception." And his most loyal fans ride for 2006's "The Prestige" as his true triumph. To put it simply, Nolan is one of the few directors whose work demands to be seen on the big screen, rather than streaming at home.

His problem? Running into the runaway train that is both Gerwig's directing career, and the PR hype that has surrounded "Barbie" for a couple years. 

Gerwig has captured both male and female audiences with her first two films, "Ladybird" and "Little Women," in a way that has enabled her to take a massive swing with her third picture. One that includes Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling and Will Ferrell among the players looking to work with one of the most exciting directors of our time.


Joss has over a decade of experience in the US online gambling market. His analysis and writing cover every aspect of the business. After a career as an Army officer, he spent time in business, then took up online poker. Joss lives in Peru with his family. Joss is globally considered one of the leading voices in the gambling industry, especially North American sports betting.

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