This weekend's Barbenheimer duopoly was less showdown and more phenomenon, as both movies walked away winners. While Barbie may have topped the domestic box office with $162 million, Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer raked in an impressive $82.4 million. Not bad for a three-hour opus about the father of the atomic bomb.
While many, many people clearly saw one or both movies in theaters this weekend, others may be holding off until they hit streaming services. Barbie will eventually stream on Max, since that movie was released by Warner Bros. Pictures. Oppenheimer was released by Universal Pictures, whose sibling streamer is Peacock.
So, Oppenheimer will most likely end up streaming on Peacock. The big question is: When? Here's our best guess.
When will you be able you watch Oppenheimer online?
Oppenheimer is likely to have two streaming windows. The first is the digital release date, which is when you can rent or buy the movie to watch online via Amazon, Apple, YouTube, Vudu and other sites.
The earliest digital release of Oppenheimer will be 90 days after its theatrical release, which would be October 19. However, it could be later, at 120 days (November 18) or even after that.
When Christopher Nolan broke up with Warner Bros. after nearly two decades making his films with the studio, his condition to new suitors was that his movies get an exclusive theatrical window of 90 to 120 days. Universal won the right to distribute Nolan's titles. and the studio's chairman Donna Langley confirmed that window publicly in 2021.
Reports say Oppenheimer's theatrical exclusivity will be somewhere in the middle, around 100 days (October 29). That's a Sunday, and most digital releases are set for Tuesdays. But the following Tuesday is Halloween, which may not be ideal. Then again, what's more horrifying than the advent of nuclear weapons?
When is Oppenheimer coming to a streaming service?
Oppenheimer is being distributed by Universal Pictures, which sends all of its theatrical titles to stream on Peacock ... at some point.
Fast X, which opened in theaters May 19, hasn't yet gotten a digital release date nor a date to stream on Peacock.
Going back further, Super Mario Bros. opened April 5, with a digital release date of May 16 (which was 41 days later). It will finally go to Peacock on Aug. 3 (or 120 days later).
Oppenheimer has a much longer theatrical window, so we expect its timeline to be drawn out. If the digital release is sometime in mid- to late-October, then Oppenheimer might head to Peacock in mid-December — or right smack in the middle of the holiday season.
Outlook: When we think Oppenheimer hits streaming
Nolan's demands regarding his movies' theatrical windows makes it a little tricker to guess streaming release dates for Oppenheimer. It certainly won't follow the timelines of other Universal Pictures blockbusters.
So, based on what we know, here are our bets:
Oppenheimer likely hits digital on-demand mid-October. That's a little less than the rumored 100 days post-theatrical release, but before the horror glut around Halloween.
Oppenheimer begins streaming on Peacock in mid-December. That gives the digital release two months, while still making Peacock an attractive holiday gift purchase.