It seems ironic that after months of fuss over Oppenheimer’s too-brief (and eventually extended) window in IMAX theaters, and the question of who was going to get to see it in “true” IMAX and who would have to settle for various forms of “LieMAX,” the other half of the Barbenheimer pairing is now sliding in to take over where Oppenheimer left off. Warner Bros. announced Thursday that Greta Gerwig’s Barbie will play in IMAX theaters for one week starting on Sept. 22 — now with “additional, never-before-seen post-credit footage.”
It’s unclear at this time how much new footage will be featured in the new cut, and whether it will be a complete post-credits scene, or just a collection of outtakes. The original theatrical cut of Barbie does not have a post-credits scene. Warner Bros. says that Gerwig personally selected the new content from material that was already shot for the movie, but had no further details.
This isn’t the first time a movie has headed back to theaters with new footage added: Back in 2004, Napoleon Dynamite entered wide theatrical release with an additional five-minute post-credits scene that wasn’t part of the initial film-festival cut or the limited theatrical release. Eight months after the theatrical debut of 2021’s Spider-Man: No Way Home, the film returned to theaters with a new post-credits scene, plus additional footage sprinkled throughout. And the 2022 theatrical re-release of James Cameron’s 2009 blockbuster Avatar added teaser footage for the sequel, Avatar: The Way of Water.
In all these cases, the studios behind these expansions seemed to be trying to invite repeat business from fans who had already seen the movies in question, and needed an excuse to return to the theater for another viewing.
Not that Barbie really needs the extra business: It’s currently on track to become the highest-grossing movie of 2023, passing The Super Mario Bros. Movie in the top slot. The only question now is, will fans keep dressing up in fancy Barbie-themed outfits if they go see the movie’s IMAX run?