DO WE show the explosion? That would be the first question on my mind if I directed a movie about J. Robert Oppenheimer—the father of the atomic bomb. That was a decision left up to Oppenheimer director Christopher Nolan, of course, and he chose not to show the invention killing countless innocent lives in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. “He learned about the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on the radio,” Nolan told a New York City audience after an Oppenheimer screening.

Naturally, one might imagine that Oppenheimer—which places the focus squarely on its namesake—wouldn’t play well in Japan. In fact, the film has yet to even open in Japan, especially considering the anniversary of the bombings on 6 August and 9 August are right around the corner. If Oppenheimer ever hit the Japanese box office, it will be interesting to see how viewers react to Nolan’s decision not to show the victims. Until then, it seems as if Oppenheimer‘s opening day buddy, Barbie, is getting all the heat in its place.

Recently, Barbie Japan’s official X (formerly known as Twitter) account was not happy with what they’ve seen so far. In a statement to Warner Bros. issued on July 31, the account criticised its American counterpart at Warner Bros. for the American marketing campaign for “Barbenheimer.” The combination of Barbie images and depictions of mushroom clouds in memes were posted to the Barbie Japan account worldwide, with Japan stating that it felt “extremely regrettable” to participate “without consideration” to their country’s history. As a result, #NoBarbenheimer began trending on Twitter in Japan.


“The Barbie movie is doomed [in Japan] because the official creators have fully embraced the memeification of the atomic bomb,” one user with over 10,000 retweets wrote. “I have complete disdain for the official Barbie movie team that seems to have no understanding of this reality,” another responded.

In a short statement, Warner Bros. wrote that the film studio “regrets its recent insensitive social media engagement.” After deleting several tweets and references to fan-made posters and insensitive Barbenheimer memes, they offered their “sincere apology.” Barbie opens in Japan on 11 August. Due to Oppenheimer—and by default Barbenheimer‘s marketing—there’s a chance that both films bomb at the Japanese box office.

This article originally appeared on Esquire US.