The Rebirth of Barbie

Barbie is a fashion doll designed by American entrepreneur Ruth Handler that was first released in 1959 by the toy company Mattel. Barbie is the face of a line of collectable dolls, various family members, and accessories manufactured by Mattel. For more than 60 years, Barbie has played a significant role in the toy fashion doll business and has been the focus of several legal disputes and controversies, frequently including mockeries of the doll and her way of life. Barbie dolls have been sold over a billion times by Mattel, making them the brand’s most popular and lucrative line.

Since the late 1980s, the company has grown into a multi-platform franchise that includes video games and CGI/computer-animated movies. The latter started in 2001, debuted on home video formats, and was regularly broadcast on the Nickelodeon cable channel in the United States from 2002 to 2017. The franchise has switched to streaming services as of 2017.

It has been said that the two most well-known dolls in the world are Barbie and Ken, her closest male companion. Since her debut, Barbie has revolutionised the toy industry by serving as a platform for the selling of connected goods (accessories, clothing, friends and family of Barbie, etc.). In a 1977 article for Journal of Popular Culture, Don Richard Cox stated that Barbie has a considerable influence on social values by promoting female freedom and an idealised high-class lifestyle that can be shared with wealthy friends through her abundance of accessories.

From 2014 to 2016, Barbie doll sales experienced a dramatic decrease. Barbie dolls and accessories were sold by Mattel for $1.35 billion in 2020, which was their biggest sales gain in 20 years. MarketWatch predicts that the arrival of the 2023 film Barbie will result in “significant growth” for the company until at least 2030.

The Movie

Barbie is a 2023 American fantasy comedy film that Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach wrote and directed. It is the first live-action Barbie movie after a number of computer-animated direct-to-video and streaming television productions, and it is based on the Mattel Barbie fashion dolls. Following an existential crisis, the movie follows Barbie (Margot Robbie) and Ken (Ryan Gosling) on a quest for self-discovery. America Ferrera, Kate McKinnon, Issa Rae, Rhea Perlman, and Will Ferrell are all part of the ensemble cast.

In September 2009, Universal Pictures revealed plans to make a live-action Barbie movie, with Laurence Mark serving as producer. When Sony Pictures purchased the film rights in April 2014, production got under way. The rights were given to Warner Bros. Pictures in October 2018, after numerous writer and director changes, the casting of Amy Schumer and later Anne Hathaway as Barbie, and other events.

In 2019, Robbie was cast, and in 2021 Gerwig and Baumbach were announced as the film’s director and co-writers. Early in 2022, the cast’s remaining members were revealed. From March to July 2022, the Venice Beach Skatepark in Los Angeles and Warner Bros. Studios, Leavesden in England were the main locations for filming.

Barbie premiered at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles on July 9, 2023, and was theatrically released in the United States on July 21, 2023, by Warner Bros. Pictures. Its simultaneous release with Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer led to the “Barbenheimer” phenomenon on social media, which encouraged audiences to see both films as a double feature. The film received mostly positive reviews from critics and has grossed over $549 million worldwide, becoming the ninth-highest grossing film of 2023.