Barbie’s designer first designed Raytheon rockets, whereas “Barbenheimer” rocked the field workplace

The first Barbie doll, made in 1959, will be on display at The World of Barbie interactive exhibit on June 28, 2023 at Santa Monica Place in Santa Monica, California.

Robyn Beck | Afp | Getty Images

A weapons engineer-turned-dollmaker is the unexpected connection to ‘Barbenheimer,’ the affectionately christened duo from Warner Bros.’ Barbie and Universal’s Oppenheimer.

The unlikely back-to-back summer festival titles opened on Friday after weeks of touting the dissimilarities between the two films – the whimsical and rosy world of Barbie alongside Oppenheimer, the extraordinary tale of the American physicist who brought the world into the nuclear age.

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And yet, the Barbie doll has a gun background.

Before Jack Ryan designed the world’s most famous doll, he worked for the aerospace giant Raytheon and helped develop the weapons that formed the backbone of American missile defenses.

Ryan, a Yale-trained engineer, helped develop the Sparrow and Hawk missiles that 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 shop, Ryan joined Mattel, where he rose to become the toymaker’s vice president of research and design.

On July 24, 1959, Ryan applied for a US patent detailing his concept for what would become the world’s most famous toy doll. In November 1961, Ryan received the patent for the “puppet construction”. He is also credited with developing toys such as Chatty Cathy and the Hot Wheels collection.

The patent for the first Barbie ever made from Sid and Alicia Belzberg’s collection.

James Leynse | Corbis Historical | Getty Images

Before his death in 1991 at the age of 65, Ryan had accumulated more than 1,000 patents on his designs.

Cinemas are now reporting strong ticket sales for Barbie and Oppenheimer and have added additional showings to meet growing demand.

“Barbie” has already grossed $22.3 million at the domestic box office since its Thursday night preview, on track to at least $140 million for the entire weekend. “Oppenheimer” secured $10.5 million on Thursday and $60 million for the weekend.

Read more: “Barbenheimer” is off to a strong start with combined Thursday sales of $32.8 million

In addition, the two films together are expected to gross more than $200 million over the next few days and are expected to have the biggest box office weekend of the year to date. Some analysts think the weekend could top $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.

More than 200,000 people bought tickets for the Oppenheimer Barbie double feature

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