Ever since the world realized that Barbie and Oppenheimer open on the same day, the internet has been obsessed with “Barbenheimer”, a proposed double bill of the two movies. Tom Cruise has his Barbenheimer plan in place. AMC has seen a spike in double-billed tickets. There are tee shirts. But what if I told you Barbenheimer isn’t the only double bill of the year? In fact, what if I told you there is another double bill, one with a thematic consistency that Barbenheimer utterly lacks? Well, guess what? There is WONKUNE, the one true double bill of 2023.


The first trailer for Wonka dropped yesterday, and pretty much everything about this movie is my own personal hell. A prequel no one asked for? Check. About a character that does not need or thematically support a backstory? Of course. AND it’s a musical? Naturally. Literally the ONLY reason I am not 100% writing off Wonka is that it is directed by Paul King, the director of Paddington and Paddington 2, and it is co-written by King and Simon Farnaby, who co-wrote Paddington 2. Paddington and especially Paddington 2—the rare sequel better than its predecessor—are two of the most heartwarming, moving, and genuinely fun films of the 2010s. Wonka comes from the same creative team, so I don’t want to underestimate it, but like…it’s a MUSICAL.

But it also makes up one half of Wonkune, the Timothee Chalamet double bill of winter 2023. Dune: Part Two opens on November 3. Wonka opens on December 15. That’s six weeks apart, it’s not the convenient same day—or the slightly saner same weekend—double bill of Barbenheimer, but Dune and Wonka have more than just a leading man in common. 


Paul Atreides and Willy Wonka are both young men set adrift in a world that does not understand them, attempting to fulfill a legacy bestowed upon them by their respective mothers. Paul has the Fremen as his allies, Wonka has the Oompa-Loompas (or, at least one Oompa-Loompa, played by Hugh Grant, and again, I cannot laugh this off because of how legitimately terrific he is in Paddington 2. What if Grant ends up giving a Phoenix Buchanan-level performance again?). They are both fighting against an empire of tyrannical men, determined to stamp out all whimsy and exploit the resources of a downtrodden people. 

Dune and Wonka are basically the same thing, is what I’m saying. The only real difference is color palette, and that Wonka will INSIST on being a musical. (Is it too late to reshoot Dune: Part Two as a musical? Because as much as I, personally, would hate that, I also think it would be funny.) 


By all means, make your Barbenheimer plans next week, but don’t forget to do the Wonkune double bill this winter, too.