Band tells PEOPLE he wants to make a "witty little weird movie that unites people with laughter and fun — that reminds us movies can simply be escapism"
Barbenheimer lives on!
"With the world so divided and with so many genre films focusing on things that depress, with Barbenheimer, I just want to make a fun, cool, witty little weird movie that unites people with laughter and fun — that reminds us movies can simply be escapism," says Band, 71, who is known for his work in the horror and horror-comedy genres, from the Puppet Master movies to the Trancers and Gingerdead Man film series.
Band first spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about Barbenheimer, which features the cheeky tagline "D-Cup, A-Bomb" and leverages the phenomenon that kicked off in late July, when theatergoers saw two wildly different movies — Greta Gerwig's Barbie and Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer — in the same weekend (sometimes even as a double feature on the same day!).
"We're making a crazy, candy-colored romp that riffs on two movies that literally have nothing in common and yet when placed together, make perfect — and perfectly strange — harmonious bedfellows," the producer tells PEOPLE. "Which is what I wish we could do in real life (as opposed to 'reel' life)."
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According to Band, his biographer Adam Felber came up with the idea for the Barbenheimer movie, telling the producer, "Everyone around the world is having fun with that notion, so we should actually make it," Band recalled to THR.
The story follows Dr. Bambi J Barbenheimer, a scientist doll from Dolltopia with a boyfriend named Twink Dollman, who "ventures into the real world where she experiences humanity at its worst and, naturally, decides to build a giant nuclear bomb to take it all out," according to a synopsis reported by THR.
Per the outlet, Barbenheimer, from a screenplay by Brian Wecht, will begin production sometime next year but has yet to announce a cast or director. And just like Gerwig's smash hit Barbie, the movie will also feature original songs.
Calling the project "an opportunity to have fun with the bizarre coupling of these two movies and the combination of Barbie’s vibe and the darkness of Oppenheimer," Band also said in his conversation with THR, "You mix that together and you have such an opportunity for dark humor.”
“But it seems like every other feature is dark and depressing, and it’s like, God, we need a little humor going into 2024," he added.
"On top of Barbenheimer the movie, Full Moon will add some crazy merch to our already robust line of toys, including a Dr. Barbenheimer action figure riding a nuclear missile a la Dr. Strangelove," Band tells PEOPLE. "This is going to be a fun one, and I'm super excited to bring Barbenheimer to life!"
In the weeks leading up to the July 21 release date of both Barbie and Oppenheimer, the internet coined the term "Barbenheimer" to label a viral trend challenging fans to see both movies.
Even the stars of the respective movies said they'd be in line to check out the competition. Cillian Murphy — who headlines Oppenheimer as the real-life father of the atomic bomb, J. Robert Oppenheimer — told IGN back in July that he personally "[couldn't] wait" to see Barbie, which stars Margot Robbie as the titular Mattel doll and Ryan Gosling as her Ken.
"I think it's just great for the industry and for audiences that we have two amazing films by amazing filmmakers coming out on the same day," added Murphy, 47. "You can spend the whole day in the cinema. What’s better than that?”
Both films made a killing at the box office, with Oppenheimer's global total sitting at $947 million and Barbie's at $1.44 billion, cementing the latter's status as the highest-grossing film of 2023 and Warner Bros.' biggest of all time.
Barbie is streaming now, while Oppenheimer will be available on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and Digital on Nov. 21.
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