After Barbie grossed over $1 billion, Hollywood was quick to greenlight dozens of toy-based movies, but is it taking the wrong lesson?
Barbie has grossed over $1 billion worldwide and Hollywood is definitely taking notice, but is it taking the wrong lesson from the movie’s success?
It didn’t take long for Mattel to announce that it was developing movies based on 14 of its iconic toy properties, including Polly Pocket, Hot Wheels, Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots, Magic 8 Ball, American Girl, UNO, and more. While speaking with Rolling Stone, Randall Park feels that Hollywood is getting it all wrong, as usual. “I feel like, just in general, this industry is taking the wrong lessons,” Park said. “For example, Barbie is this massive blockbuster, and the idea is: Make more movies about toys! No. Make more movies by and about women!” If Mattel believes that Barbie has become so successful merely due to its association with the iconic doll, they definitely learned the wrong lesson. Barbie had something to say and its message clearly had a profound impact on its audience.
“Barbie, as a brand, has many different iterations. The product lines of Barbie is a very broad brand. In addition to the main Barbie figure, she has family, she has a lot of elements around in her universe,” Mattel CEO Ynon Kreiz told Variety last month. “It’s a very rich universe… It’s a very broad and very elastic brand, in terms of opportunities. At the outset, we’re not saying, ‘Okay, let’s think already about movie two and three.’ Let’s get the first one right and make that a success. And if you do that, opportunities open up very quickly, once you establish the first movie as a successful representation of a franchise on the big screen.“
Speaking of the success of Barbie, Margot Robbie actually predicted that the film would gross $1 billion when she pitched it to the studio. “I think my pitch in the green-light meeting was the studios have prospered so much when they’re brave enough to pair a big idea with a visionary director,” Robbie said. “And then I gave a series of examples like, ‘dinosaurs and [Steven] Spielberg,’ that and that, that and that – pretty much naming anything that’s been incredible and made a ton of money for the studios over the years. And I was like, ‘And now you’ve got Barbie and Greta Gerwig.’ And I think I told them that it’d make a billion dollars, which maybe I was overselling, but we had a movie to make, okay?!“
Greta Gerwig’s Barbie features a star-studded cast which includes Margot Robbie as the title character and Ryan Gosling as Ken. When Barbie suddenly begins to worry about her own mortality, she goes on a journey of self-discovery to the real world, accompanied by a love-lorn Ken. Considering how well the film is doing, you can almost certainly expect a sequel to be announced once the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes have concluded, but it was revealed that neither Robbie, Gosling, or Gerwig have deals in place to return for a sequel. Barbie will be released on Digital on September 5th.