Barbie (film series)

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Barbie
Barbie Logo.svg
Barbie logo
Produced byMattel Creations
Production
company
Mainframe Entertainment (2001–2009)
Curious Pictures (2006)
Rainmaker Studios (2009–2017)
Arc Productions (2013, 2015, 2016)
Technicolor (2011, 2013)
Distributed byArtisan Entertainment (2001-2003)
FHE (2001–2005)
Lionsgate (2004–2006)
Universal Studios (2006–2017)
Warner Bros. (upcoming live action)[1]
CountryUnited States
Canada
LanguageEnglish

Barbie, a fashion doll manufactured by the American toy company Mattel, Inc., has been a computer animated virtual actress starring in direct-to-video animated films. Although Barbie has appeared in miniseries and short films since 1987, the series officially began in 2001 with Barbie in the Nutcracker. It was followed by a total of thirty-five films before it was put on hiatus in 2017. Barbie has appeared as a character in other films, including Mattel's My Scene line as well as the Toy Story film series, but these are not considered part of the franchise. Created by Mattel Creations (formerly Mattel Entertainment), the first ten films sold 40 million DVD and VHS units worldwide by 2007, grossing over $700 million in sales.[2] As of 2013, the series has sold over 110 million DVD units worldwide.[3]

The Barbie films and their plot lines center on Barbie as a singular CGI actress, and often frame Barbie as a modern girl telling the story to a younger friend while simultaneously starring in the film. Scholars examining how the Barbie films differ from Disney and other princess narratives have concluded that Mattel intentionally attempted to remediate its brand based on feminist criticisms through story-telling in the films.[4][5] Barbie is always placed as the central heroine of the story, with male characters and romantic interests serving as secondary to the plot.

Origins[edit]

Barbie's popularity on the toy market began to decline in the 1990s,[4] and struggled further when MGA Entertainment introduced a line of Bratz dolls, whose sexualized characters contrasted with Barbie's older, chaste image.[6][7] Mattel therefore attempted to overhaul the Barbie brand to keep the toy relevant to consumers in the modern age by bringing in consultants and conducting research on key market groups. Mattel consultants initially considered reducing the Barbie's breast size, but later claimed that the doll's figure could not be changed because "being consistent is one of her biggest strengths".[8] This move might also have been rejected because of the success of the sexualized Bratz dolls of Mattel's competitors. Mattel's team also considered targeting market audiences of career women and their daughters by introducing lines of Doctor or Lawyer Barbies.[9] However, Mattel's research showed that girls were spending more time online than playing with physical dolls.[6][9][10] Therefore, targeted career Barbies were discarded in favor of looking for more interactive platforms through online or digital media.

This resulted in the creation of the Barbie film series, which initially revolved around Barbie being reimagined as a princess and eventually expanded into various worlds of fashion and fantasy. A primary benefit of this strategy revolved around marketing, as Mattel could sell dolls specific to each film separately from the DVDs and merchandise related to props, costumes, and sets from the films.[7] Tim Kilpin, the senior vice-president for girls marketing at Mattel, stated that "What you see now are several different Barbie worlds anchored by content and storytelling. A girl can understand what role Barbie is playing, what the other characters are doing, and how they interrelate. That's a much richer level of story that leads to a richer level of play."[11] The strategy worked as US Barbie sales, led by the princess line, "increased by two percent in 2006, saving Mattel's bottom line at a time when its worldwide share of the toy market was declining."[9][12] Within the films, Mattel includes performances by well-known companies and orchestras, such as the London Symphony Orchestra, the Czech Philharmonic and the New York City Ballet.[6][7] These associations could have been included as an enrichment strategy on behalf of Mattel's marketing team, to help the films be seen as educational.

Films[edit]

The 36 Barbie animated feature films from 2001 to 2017.

The company produced its first feature-length film, Barbie in the Nutcracker, in 2001 based on E. T. A. Hoffmann's classic tale and featured music from Tchaikovsky's ballet. After its success, it was followed by Barbie as Rapunzel based on the Brothers Grimm's fairy tale in 2002 and another Tchaikovsky ballet-inspired Barbie of Swan Lake in 2003. The first musical film was released in 2004 with Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper based on Mark Twain's famous novel. Due to its popularity among the fans, a remake was released in 2012 with Barbie: The Princess & the Popstar.[13]

In 2005, the first of the Barbie: Fairytopia trilogy was released which was followed by Barbie: Mermaidia in 2006 and Barbie Fairytopia: Magic of the Rainbow in 2007. Two films were released as spin-offs to Fairytopia, Barbie: Mariposa in 2008 and its sequel Barbie: Mariposa & the Fairy Princess in 2013.[14]

The success of the first three films had led to the princess-themed lineup in the series, releasing its first original story Barbie and the Magic of Pegasus in 2005, another Grimm's fairy tale Barbie in the 12 Dancing Princesses in 2006, and the musicals Barbie as the Island Princess in 2007 and Barbie & the Diamond Castle in 2008. Two more films based on classic novels by Charles Dickens and Alexandre Dumas were released with Barbie in A Christmas Carol in 2008 and Barbie and the Three Musketeers in 2009, respectively.[15]

Starting with the modern adaptation of an Andersen fairy tale, Barbie: Thumbelina in 2009, the series moved away from the classical princess stories and focused on more modern themes like fashion and on stories revolving around Barbie's family and careers.[16] In 2017, the franchise was put on hiatus after Barbie: Dolphin Magic, but in 2020, Mattel announced a return to the film series, beginning with the new musical Barbie: Princess Adventure.[17]

The following is the official list of the animated films in the Barbie film series.

# Title Release date Director(s) Screenwriter(s) Video sales Sales revenue
1 Barbie in the Nutcracker October 23, 2001 Owen Hurley Rob Hudnut, Linda Engelsiepen & Hilary Hinkle 110,000,000[18] $1,925,000,000 (est.)[18][19]
2 Barbie as Rapunzel October 1, 2002 Elana Lesser & Cliff Ruby
3 Barbie of Swan Lake September 30, 2003
4 Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper September 28, 2004 William Lau
5 Barbie: Fairytopia March 8, 2005 Walter P. Martishius Elise Allen & Diane Duane
6 Barbie and the Magic of Pegasus September 20, 2005 Greg Richardson Elana Lesser & Cliff Ruby
7 Barbie Fairytopia: Mermaidia March 14, 2006 William Lau & Walter P. Martishius Elise Allen & Diane Duane
8 The Barbie Diaries May 9, 2006 Eric Fogel Elise Allen & Laura McCreary
9 Barbie in the 12 Dancing Princesses September 19, 2006 Greg Richardson Elana Lesser & Cliff Ruby
10 Barbie Fairytopia: Magic of the Rainbow March 13, 2007 William Lau Elise Allen
11 Barbie as the Island Princess September 18, 2007 Greg Richardson Elana Lesser & Cliff Ruby
12 Barbie: Mariposa February 26, 2008 Conrad Helten Elise Allen
13 Barbie & the Diamond Castle September 9, 2008 Gino Nichelle Elana Lesser & Cliff Ruby
14 Barbie in A Christmas Carol November 4, 2008 William Lau Elise Allen
15 Barbie Presents: Thumbelina March 17, 2009 Conrad Helten
16 Barbie and the Three Musketeers September 15, 2009 William Lau Amy Wolferam
17 Barbie in A Mermaid Tale March 2, 2010 Adam L. Wood Elise Allen
18 Barbie: A Fashion Fairytale September 14, 2010 William Lau
19 Barbie: A Fairy Secret March 15, 2011
20 Barbie: Princess Charm School September 13, 2011 Ezekiel Norton
21 Barbie: A Perfect Christmas November 8, 2011 Mark Baldo
22 Barbie in A Mermaid Tale 2 February 27, 2012 William Lau
23 Barbie: The Princess & the Popstar September 11, 2012 Ezekiel Norton Steve Granat & Cydne Clark
24 Barbie in the Pink Shoes February 26, 2013 Owen Hurley Alison Taylor 581,187[20] $10,843,872[21]
25 Barbie: Mariposa & the Fairy Princess August 27, 2013 William Lau Elise Allen 271,194[22] $5,878,488[21]
26 Barbie & Her Sisters in A Pony Tale October 22, 2013 Kyran Kelly Cydne Clark & Steve Granat 458,026[23] $9,454,173[21]
27 Barbie: The Pearl Princess February 15, 2014 Ezekiel Norton 368,500[24] $7,580,205[21]
28 Barbie and the Secret Door August 7, 2014 Karen J. Lloyd Brian Holefeld 329,836[25] $8,488,067[25]
29 Barbie in Princess Power February 26, 2015 Ezekiel Norton Marsha Griffin 212,385[26] $4,655,070[21]
30 Barbie in Rock'n Royals August 13, 2015 Karen J. Lloyd & Michael Goguen 131,836[27] $5,006,613[21]
31 Barbie & Her Sisters in The Great Puppy Adventure October 8, 2015 Andrew Tan Amy Wolfram 69,950[28] $4,171,779[21]
32 Barbie: Spy Squad January 15, 2016 Conrad Helten Marsha Griffin & Kacey Arnold 190,146[29] $2,961,549[29]
33 Barbie: Star Light Adventure August 29, 2016 Andrew Tan Kacey Arnold 21,154[30] $2,088,235[21]
34 Barbie & Her Sisters in A Puppy Chase October 18, 2016 Conrad Helten Amy Wolfram & Kacey Arnold 22,492[31] $2,095,317[21]
35 Barbie: Video Game Hero January 31, 2017 Conrad Helten & Zeke Norton Nina Bargiel TBA TBA
36 Barbie: Dolphin Magic September 17, 2017 Conrad Helten Jennifer Skelly TBA TBA
37 Barbie: Princess Adventure[32] September 1, 2020 Conrad Helten Ann Austen TBA TBA
Total 112,656,706 $1,988,223,368 (est.)

Barbie's roles[edit]

Barbie was voiced by Kelly Sheridan in most of the series for twenty-seven films altogether.[33] Sheridan was initially succeeded by Diana Kaarina as the voice of Barbie in 2010, beginning with Barbie: A Fashion Fairytale, but later returned to the role in 2012 with Barbie in A Mermaid Tale 2. She continued to voice Barbie through 2015, when it was announced that Erica Lindbeck would be taking over in 2016.[34]

# Title Barbie's role(s) Voice actor(s) Notes
1 Barbie in the Nutcracker Clara / Sugar Plum Princess Kelly Sheridan
2 Barbie as Rapunzel Rapunzel
3 Barbie of Swan Lake Odette
4 Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper Princess Anneliese / Erika
  • Melissa Lyons (singing voice for Anneliese)
  • Julie Stevens (singing voice for Erika)
5 Barbie: Fairytopia Elina
6 Barbie and the Magic of Pegasus Princess Annika
7 Barbie Fairytopia: Mermaidia Elina
8 The Barbie Diaries Barbie Skye Sweetnam (singing voice for Barbie)
9 Barbie in the 12 Dancing Princesses Princess Genevieve Melissa Lyons (singing voice for Genevieve)
10 Barbie Fairytopia: Magic of the Rainbow Elina
11 Barbie as the Island Princess Ro / Princess Rosella Melissa Lyons (singing voice for Rosella)
12 Barbie: Mariposa Elina / Mariposa
13 Barbie & the Diamond Castle Liana Kelly Sheridan Melissa Lyons (singing voice for Liana and Eden)
14 Barbie in A Christmas Carol Eden Starling
15 Barbie Presents: Thumbelina Barbie Kelly Sheridan
16 Barbie and the Three Musketeers Corinne
17 Barbie in A Mermaid Tale Merliah Summers Melissa Lyons (singing voice for Merliah)
18 Barbie: A Fashion Fairytale Barbie Diana Kaarina
19 Barbie: A Fairy Secret Barbie
20 Barbie: Princess Charm School Blair Willows / Princess Sophia
21 Barbie: A Perfect Christmas Barbie Jennifer Waris (singing voice for Barbie)
22 Barbie in A Mermaid Tale 2 Merliah Summers Kelly Sheridan
23 Barbie: The Princess & the Popstar Princess Tori / Keira
24 Barbie in the Pink Shoes Kristyn Farraday / Giselle / Odette
25 Barbie: Mariposa & the Fairy Princess Mariposa
26 Barbie & Her Sisters in A Pony Tale Barbie
27 Barbie: The Pearl Princess Princess Lumina
28 Barbie and the Secret Door Princess Alexa Brittany McDonald (singing voice for Alexa)
29 Barbie in Princess Power Princess Kara / Super Sparkle
30 Barbie in Rock'n Royals Princess Courtney Jordyn Kane (singing voice for Courtney)
31 Barbie & Her Sisters in The Great Puppy Adventure Barbie
32 Barbie: Spy Squad Barbie Erica Lindbeck
33 Barbie: Star Light Adventure Barbie / Princess Starlight
34 Barbie & Her Sisters in A Puppy Chase Barbie
35 Barbie: Video Game Hero Barbie
36 Barbie: Dolphin Magic Barbie
37 Barbie: Princess Adventure Barbie / Princess Amelia
  • America Young (Barbie)
  • Erica Lindbeck (Amelia)

Live-action film adaptation[edit]

In 1986, a St. Petersburg Times newspaper reported that Cannon Films planned to make a Barbie film, but nothing came to fruition.

Sony Pictures and Mattel attempted to develop a comedic live-action Barbie movie with Walter F. Parkes and Laurie MacDonald as producers and Jenny Bicks as a writer.[35] On March 4, 2015 it was announced that Diablo Cody will be doing rewrites on the script.[36] In December 2015 it was announced that Sony would hire three different writers to write scripts and that they would choose the best one. They are working with the draft written by Hilary Winston.[37][38]

On August 5, 2015, Sony Pictures set the release date as June 2, 2017.[39] On December 2, 2016, The Hollywood Reporter reported that Amy Schumer had been cast as Barbie. It also reported that minor changes would be made in terms of the character and the story itself, centering on a Barbie, who after she is exiled from a world full of Barbies, enters the real world as a normal woman who is imperfect.[40] On March 23, 2017, The Hollywood Reporter confirmed that Schumer had dropped out of the project due to scheduling conflicts; similar reports stated that the film was without a director.[41] In August 2017, it was announced that Anne Hathaway would star as the titular character and that up-and-coming director Alethea Jones would helm it.[42]

Originally scheduled for release on May 12, 2017, it was reported that the live-action film adaptation was pushed back and set for a June 29, 2018 release in the United States;[43] it was later pushed back to August 8, 2018.[44] On April 26, 2018, Diablo Cody announced why she had dropped out as the original chosen writer on the project. Cody said that she spent too much time involved working on the screenplay for Tully to focus on writing the live action Barbie movie and that she doesn't feel she is the right person to write the script.[45] This film's concept was discarded in 2017.[46] Sony in January 2018 would later move its release date to May 8, 2020.[47]

With a revived film division, Mattel Films, a Barbie film was considered one of two of the division's first projects.[46] In October 2018, it was announced that Warner Bros. would distribute and that Margot Robbie was in talks to play the titular character, following Hathaway's departure from the role.[48] In early January 2019, Mattel closed the deal with Robbie to star and Warner and Robbie's production company, LuckyChap Entertainment, to co-produce.[49] In July 2019, it was announced that Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach would write the script with Gerwig also in talks to direct.[50]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hemmert, Kylie (October 5, 2018). "Margot Robbie to Star in Barbie Movie as Mattel Partners with Warner Bros". Comingsoon.net. Retrieved October 17, 2018.
  2. ^ Schiller, Gail (August 2, 2007). "Barbie, Hot Wheels, G.I. Joe toying with Hollywood". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 6, 2019.
  3. ^ Strecker, Erin (February 26, 2013). "Barbie celebrates 25th DVD release today". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved February 6, 2019.
  4. ^ a b Vered, Karen Orrl & Maizonniaux, Christèlel, "Barbie and the straight-to-DVD movie: pink post-feminist pedagogy", Feminist Media Studies. Apr2017, Vol. 17 Issue 2, p198-214. 17p.
  5. ^ Still, Julie, "Feminist Barbie: Mattel's Remakes of Classic Tales", MP: A Feminist Journal Online. Oct2010, Vol. 3 Issue 2, p148-164. 17p.
  6. ^ a b c Ault, Susanne, "Girl Power Builds Barbie muscle: Mattel Takes Kids' Fave Forward with U Pact," Daily Variety (February 12, 2007). A11-A13.
  7. ^ a b c Orr, Lisa, "'Difference That is Actually Sameness Mass-Reproduced,: Barbie Joins the Princess Convergence," Jeunesse: Young People, Texts Cultures 1.1 (2009): 9-30.
  8. ^ "Holding Back the Years." Marketing Week. Marketing Week, 14 Aug. 2008. Web. 22 Apr. 2009.
  9. ^ a b c Gogoi, Pallavi. "Mattel's Barbie Trouble." Business Week Online 18 July 2006: 7. Academic Search Premier. Web. 15 Mar. 2009.
  10. ^ Netherby, Jennifer. "Doll Shape Shifts with Times." Daily Variety 9 Feb. 2007. LexisNexis. Web. 25 Oct. 2008.
  11. ^ "Barbie's Midlife Crisis." Brand Strategy 14 May 2004: 20+. LexisNexis. Web. 25 Oct. 2008.
  12. ^ Mattel. "Mattel Incorporated Fourth Quarter 2008 Earnings Conference Call." Mattel. Mattel, 2 Feb. 2009. Web. 16 Mar. 2009.
  13. ^ Vered, Karen Orr; Maizonniaux, Christèle (2020-03-14). "Barbie and the straight-to-DVD movie: pink post-feminist pedagogy". Feminist Media Studies. 17 (2): 198–214. doi:10.1080/14680777.2016.1178158. S2CID 147748759.
  14. ^ "All 37 Best Barbie Movies List In Order with Infographic (2020)". Featured Animation. Retrieved 2020-07-26.
  15. ^ Orr, Lisa (2020-03-15). ""Difference That Is Actually Sameness Mass-Reproduced": Barbie Joins the Princess Convergence". Jeunesse: Young People, Texts, Cultures. 1 (1): 9–30 – via Project MUSE.
  16. ^ ""No bos olib" – On the gynocentrism and sparkly separatism of the Barbie movies @ Fusion Journal". fusion-journal.com. Retrieved 2020-07-26.
  17. ^ "Barbie: Princess Adventures brings movie series back – ToonBarn". Retrieved 2020-03-20.
  18. ^ a b "Barbie celebrates 25th DVD release today". Entertainment Weekly. February 26, 2013. Retrieved February 6, 2019.
  19. ^ "Barbie, Hot Wheels, G.I. Joe toying with Hollywood". The Hollywood Reporter. August 2, 2007. Retrieved February 6, 2019.
  20. ^ "Barbie in the Pink Shoes (2013) - Financial Information". The Numbers. Retrieved March 24, 2019.
  21. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Barbie Franchise Box Office History – Video". The Numbers. Retrieved March 24, 2019.
  22. ^ "Barbie Mariposa and the Fairy Princess (2013) - Financial Information". The Numbers. Retrieved March 25, 2019.
  23. ^ "Barbie & Her Sisters in a Pony Tale (2013) - Financial Information". The Numbers. Retrieved March 25, 2019.
  24. ^ "Barbie: The Pearl Princess (2014) - Financial Information". The Numbers. Retrieved March 25, 2019.
  25. ^ a b "Barbie and the Secret Door (2014) - Financial Information". The Numbers. Retrieved March 25, 2019.
  26. ^ "Barbie in Princess Power (2015) - Financial Information". The Numbers. Retrieved March 25, 2019.
  27. ^ "Barbie in Rock'n Royals (2015) - Financial Information". The Numbers. Retrieved March 25, 2019.
  28. ^ "Barbie & Her Sisters in The Great Puppy Adventure (2015) - Financial Information". The Numbers. Retrieved March 25, 2019.
  29. ^ a b "Barbie: Spy Squad (2016) - Financial Information". The Numbers. Retrieved March 25, 2019.
  30. ^ "Barbie: Star Light Adventure (2016) - Financial Information". The Numbers. Retrieved March 25, 2019.
  31. ^ "Barbie & Her Sisters in a Puppy Chase (2016) - Financial Information". The Numbers. Retrieved March 25, 2019.
  32. ^ "TV Listings NATPE & Pre-Kidscreen Edition 2020". Issuu. Retrieved 2020-03-14.
  33. ^ "Kelly Sheridan". IMDb. Retrieved 2020-03-20.
  34. ^ Darla Murray (November 25, 2015). "Hello Barbie Voiceover Actress Erica Lindbeck Interview – Meet the Voice of the New Hello Barbie". Cosmopolitan. Retrieved April 29, 2016.
  35. ^ Fleming, Mike. "Sony Pictures Teams With Mattel To Fashion Film Franchise Based On Barbie Toyline". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 24, 2014.
  36. ^ "Sony's 'Barbie' Movie Draws Diablo Cody for Rewrite".
  37. ^ "'Barbie' Movie: Sony Trying Three Poses With Three Scripts".
  38. ^ "Amy Schumer exits live-action Barbie movie".
  39. ^ CS (August 5, 2015). "Sony Pictures Dates 16 Films Through 2019!". comingsoon.net. Retrieved August 5, 2015.
  40. ^ Kit, Borys (December 2, 2016). "Amy Schumer in Talks to Star in 'Barbie' Movie From Sony". The Hollywood Reporter.
  41. ^ Ford, Rebecca (March 23, 2017). "Amy Schumer Exits 'Barbie' Movie". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 23, 2017.
  42. ^ Couch, Aaron (August 11, 2017). "Sony Sets Dates for 'Spider-Man' Spinoff 'Silver & Black' and 'Sicario 2'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 12, 2017. Columbia Pictures also confirmed that Anne Hathaway will star in Barbie (news she was in talks for the role broke last month) and said it has moved the film back a few weeks to Aug. 8, 2018 (it was previously set for June 29, 2018). Alethea Jones directs the film.
  43. ^ "Barbie Release Date Set for Summer 2018". ComingSoon.net. December 10, 2016. Retrieved December 10, 2016.
  44. ^ "Sony Dates 'Silver And Black', 'Sicario 2'; Moves 'Holmes And Watson', 'Bad Boys 3' Unset & More". Deadline Hollywood. August 11, 2017.
  45. ^ Evangelista, Chris (April 26, 2018). "Diablo Cody Never Actually Wrote a Script for the 'Barbie' Movie". Slash Film. Retrieved May 8, 2018.
  46. ^ a b Townsend, Matthew (September 6, 2018). "Mattel's New CEO Starts Movie Unit to Jump-Start Film Franchises". Bloomberg.com. Retrieved September 7, 2018.
  47. ^ McNary, Dave (January 23, 2018). "Anne Hathaway's 'Barbie' Moved Back Two Years to 2020". Variety. Retrieved March 24, 2018.
  48. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (October 5, 2018). "'Barbie' Zooming From Sony To Warner Bros; Margot Robbie In Early Talks". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved October 6, 2018.
  49. ^ Kroll, Justin (January 8, 2019). "Margot Robbie's 'Barbie' Film Moves Ahead as Warner Bros. Closes Deal With Mattel". Variety. Retrieved January 9, 2019.
  50. ^ Gonzalez, Umberto (July 15, 2019). "Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach to Write 'Barbie' for Mattel and Warner Bros". The Wrap. Archived from the original on July 15, 2019. Retrieved July 15, 2019.

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