The History of the Ultimate Double Features!

Throughout film history, there have been a handful of iconic cinematic pairs that premiered on the same day. With the premiere of Oppenheimer and Barbie, we’re taking a look back at other big films that have shared their premieres!

It seems like everybody is up in arms about the 21st of the month when both Barbie and Oppenheimer are set to hit theaters.  Two radically different blockbusters that inject some life into fears about a decline in cinema attendance and conversations about the future of Hollywood, with news of strikes plaguing the sparkling image of the industry.  Yet this isn’t the first time two instant classics have hit theaters on the same day. Besides Mamma Mia and The Dark Knight on July 18th, 2008, here are a smattering of other double releases in chronological order that captured the audiences then – and are still revered today.

Blade Runner & The Thing (June 25th, 1982)

It was dubbed “Barbie and Oppenheimer Day for dads.” We all know Blade Runner after the fairly recent reboot, but the horror masterpiece directed by John Carpenter deserves more love!

Pulp Fiction & Hoop Dreams (October 14th, 1994)

One of the ultimate sports movies and the birthplace of every male film student’s obsession.  An unusual match nevertheless made in movie heaven late in ‘94.  Both come highly recommended by us.  

Jumanji & Heat (December 15th, 1995)

While you might be more familiar with the later Jumanji featuring Jack Black and the Rock, the O.G. opened in theaters on the same day as the legendary crime thriller Heat.  While the latter is a slow-paced epic, the former is an attention-grabbing jungle adventure.

10 Things I Hate About You & The Matrix (March 31st, 1999)

One of the definitive action movies – not only propelling Keanu Reeves to another level, but it also remains an iconic piece of art from the LGBTQ+ community, being directed by the Wachowski siblings.  That said, no one should forget about the classic teen rom-com that debuted on the same day.  Like the Barbienheimer phenomenon, these two bookend opposite points on the cinema spectrum – but both are 10/10. 

Elf & Love Actually (November 7th, 2003)

It might have been November – and early November, at that – but two staples of Christmas cinema were released on the same 2003 day in the first week of the month.  A timeless kid’s classic that equally appeals to the young at heart and some sweet British cinema.  A perfect holiday pair!

About the Author

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Tyler Roland

Tyler Roland, originally from Darien, Connecticut, is one of Loyola Marymount University’s rising seniors. He has ample experience in writing in everything from various school publications to the popular satire site Hard Times. An English major and music enthusiast, he enjoys driving his 1978 Porsche 928 in his spare time.