The first Barbie doll from 1959 is on display at the interactive exhibit “The World of Barbie” on June 28, 2023, at Santa Monica Place in Santa Monica, California.
Robin Beck | Afp | Getty Images
A weapons engineer turned doll maker is the unlikely link of Barpenheimer, the duo amicably dubbed “Barbie” from Warner Bros. “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” from Universal.
Summer’s unexpected back-to-back titles opened Friday after weeks of mania playing the differences in the two films — the whimsical, pink world of “Barbie” alongside “Oppenheimer,” the extraordinary story of the American physicist who ushered the world into the atomic age.
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However, Barbie doll comes from a weapons background.
Before designing the world’s most famous doll, Jack Ryan worked for an aviation giant Raytheon And he helped create the weapons that formed the backbone of America’s missile defense.
A Yale-educated engineer, Ryan helped create the Sparrow and Hawk missiles, which laid the foundation for the Patriot missile system, one of the most advanced air defense weapons in America’s arsenal.
After working in the gun business, Ryan went to Mattel, where he rose to vice president of research and design for the toy manufacturer.
On July 24, 1959, Ryan filed a US patent detailing his concept for what would later become the world’s most famous toy doll. Ryan patented “doll construction” in November 1961. He is also credited with creating toys such as Chatty Cathy and the Hot Wheels range.
The first Barbie ever produced was patented by Sid and Alicia Belzberg.
James Lynsey | Historic Corbis | Getty Images
Before his death in 1991 at the age of 65, Ryan amassed more than 1,000 patents for his designs.
Meanwhile, cinemas are reporting high ticket sales for “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” and are adding additional screenings to meet the growing demand.
“Barbie” has already made $22.3 million at the domestic box office from Thursday night previews, and is on track to at least $140 million for the full weekend. Oppenheimer made $10.5 million Thursday, compared to $60 million for the weekend.
Read more: Barpenheimer comes down to a A hot start with $32.8 million in combined Thursday sales
What’s more, the two films together are likely to gross over $200 million over the next few days, and are expected to lead to the highest-grossing weekend of the year so far at the box office, with some analysts suggesting the weekend could pass $300 million with additional sales of “Mission Impossible,” “Sound of Freedom,” and “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.”
Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC.