If you’re one of the millions of moviegoers who contributed to “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” earning almost $2 billion in the box office since their premieres in July, you are no stranger to their influence.
Though the films are starkly different at first glance, one about the father of the atomic bomb, and the other about a doll who travels to the real world, they have quite a few similarities. Both are directed by big-name filmmakers: Greta Gerwig and Christopher Nolan, respectively; both have come together to form one of the most well known buzzwords of 2023 — “Barbenheimer,” coined by film critic and writer Matt Neglia; and both films, along with Taylor Swift’s “The Eras Tour” and Beyonce’s “Renaissance” tour have helped save the world from itself.
Taylor Swift and Beyonce have become household names, having been incredible forces for decades, even before the world needed the hope their art inspired. Decorated with dozens of awards, the powerhouses are now both on world tours. “The Eras Tour”, made up of the 10 studio albums Swift has put out in the past 16 years, has grossed past the $1 billion mark, and is still growing as Swift anticipates singing across Europe, Asia, and South America in 2024. Beyonce, who has also been on tour since this summer, is on track to do the same with her three hour concert that has swept across the world since May.
So how did these powerhouses of art help save the world? Before the Covid-19 pandemic, concert venues, cinemas, and theaters always seemed crowded with people eager to consume some form of art.
The most important thing about all these things? They were all places that could be enjoyed in-person. Artists of all kinds could share their talents with the masses in the most creative ways, inspiring more stories to be told through an array of mediums. We could practice a centuries-long tradition of communication that challenged the status-quo and unite as one people. But with lockdowns put in place in early 2020, this was stripped from us.
The U.S. box office lost billions in profits after having to postpone production and premieres while our phones, laptops, and TVs became our theaters. Broadway shut down for over a year, leaving many performers without a job. The first full-capacity concert, presented by the Foo Fighters in July of 2021, took the same amount of time to happen, depriving singers and musicians of their outlets for 16 months.
We were stranded in a wasteland of isolation for so long that Taylor Swift herself even had the time to put out two full albums and a rerecording of her 2008 album Fearless.
After lockdowns lifted, we grew tired of settling for phone screens and the noticeable rise in a need for creativity and inspiration. The industry started churning out an abundance of impactful movies in the past two years, like “Top Gun: Maverick” (2022), “Avatar: Way of Water" (2022), and many more, most stories of hope and perseverance.
Singers and musicians eagerly started producing again at a rapid speed. Broadway reopened and directors scrambled to get their screenplays onto the big screen.
Art, television, and music, especially, have always been something that brought the world together, but in the past two years more than ever, they’ve become a necessity to keep the world going. “Barbenheimer,” the “Eras Tour” and “Renaissance” have notably been the biggest lighthouses in the hectic storm of the aftermath of Covid-19, making this summer one of the most creatively successful since 2020.
Why does this matter for reasons outside of our growing economy and why should we be endlessly proud of all artists? According to a USA Today conducted poll, “Gen Z may be the most creative generation yet,” and are most likely to pursue arts careers at a high degree.
Because of this, we are slowly creeping into the beginning of a more creatively driven world after being absent from creative freedom for so long. Regardless of any statistic, though, art has always had a large role in how society shapes, but now more than ever, thanks to the brilliant minds of this century, it's become a beacon for all.