‘Barbie’ and ‘Oppenheimer’ craze benefits small Rochester theatres

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Blockbuster films ‘Barbie’ and ‘Oppenheimer’ officially released July 21.

The pair of highly-anticipated films went viral on social media for their vast difference in subject matter and earned the nickname, “Barbenheimer”.

Small local cinemas like The Little Theatre on East Avenue in Rochester saw a large growth in ticket sales on July 20 when they debuted both movies.

The COVID-19 pandemic along with the growth of streaming platforms have posed a threat to movie theaters across the county. This year, Regal, the United State’s second largest movie chain closed 39 of their theaters including the Regal in Henrietta.

Scott Pukos, the communications director for The Little is excited by the popularity of the films.

“So, I have worked at the little for eight years, and I have not seen anything like ‘Barbenheimer’ phenomenon” Pukos said. “We’ve had challenges — never like to see theaters close.”

Local filmmaker Amy Adrion said that lack of excitement for recent films could be a larger problem for movie industries.

“I think the movie business needs to catch up a bit with the kinds of films that are made that resonate with all different kinds of audiences, young people in particular.”

In order to entice moviegoers to come to the movies, The Little offers unique experiences such as a movie discussion after Barbie. They are also the only theatre in Western New York showing Oppenheimer in 35 millimeter Kodak film.

“There is such a rich film history here and so many passionate movie fans that having a movie like Oppenheimer that was shot on Kodak film and us showing it here on film at the little really meant a lot to people,” says Pukos.

For ticket information you can click here.