“Barbie”, the movie starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling in lead roles, released globally on July 21, 2023. The movie is an homage to the iconic line of fashion dolls created by Ruth Handler.
Over the last six decades, Mattel has sold over a billion Barbie dolls which helped to cement the line’s legacy. Barbie and Ken are often considered two of the most popular dolls in the world.
The movie brings their story from Barbieland. Here are some exciting facts you may want to know before heading out to watch the film on the big screen.
History of Barbie
Back in the 1950s, all the children’s dolls were made to be infants without many customizable options. Ruth Handler noticed that her daughter Barbara played with paper dolls and gave them adult roles to play.
She quickly realized that there could be a demand for a grown-up play doll with different roles for kids. Making them customizable would be even more lucrative to unleash the inner creativity of the young ones. Ruth and her husband Elliot co-founded Mattel to go forward with the idea.
Initially, Elliot and the board of directors at Mattel were hesitant about a customizable adult-looking doll. But the first “Barbie”, named after the nickname of Barbara, was a massive hit in her signature zebra striped swimsuit in 1959. Barbie was marketed as a teen fashion icon and sold over 350,000 units globally in the first year of its release.
Barbie made Mattel the second most valuable toy company in the world right after Lego. Back in 2006, the company estimated that they have sold over a billion Barbie dolls across the world in 150 countries.
Interesting Facts about “Barbie” Movie
Mattel Films is one of the production companies
The success of Barbie's line of dolls prompted Mattel to expand its horizon as a multimedia franchise. Over the years, the company has produced several animated feature films and video games featuring the duo of Barbie and Ken.
For the movie, Mattel Films worked with director Greta Gerwig and Warner Bros to design the set of the film. The company contributed to keeping the old-school charm of the set intact throughout the movie.
The movie is the first live-action adaptation of Barbie and the first successful collaboration between Mattel and Warner Bros.
A long list of lead actors for Barbie
The idea of a live-action Barbie is nothing new. It has been floating over for more than a decade until its culmination with the Robbie and Gerwig duo.
Initially, Universal Pictures acquired the rights to the film but it later went to Sony Pictures in 2014 due to lack of developments. Amy Schumer was slated to play the lead role and work on the screenplay. But she dropped out due to some unknown reason in 2017. After that Anne Hathaway was chosen for the role but that too didn’t see any progress.
Finally, Warner Bros picked up the rights in 2019 and settled with Greta Gerwig to direct the film.
Margot Robbie was initially hesitant to play Barbie
Robbie is one of the producers of Barbie. When Greta shared her vision for the lead Barbie in the movie, Robbie felt that she might not be the perfect fit as the lead. Robbie grew up in the Gold Coast of Australia and much of her playtime was outdoors in the sand or the mud. She even claimed to have never owned a Barbie doll as a kid.
Robbie felt that Gal Gadot brought in the “Barbie energy” that Greta had been looking for. But ultimately Greta went with Robbie.