Barbie (film series)
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|The Barbie Film Collection|
|Produced by||Mattel Creations|
Artisan Entertainment/FHE (2001–2003) |
Universal Studios (2006–present)
Sony Pictures Entertainment (upcoming live action)
United States |
Barbie is a fashion doll manufactured by the American toy company Mattel, Inc. who has been a computer animated virtual actress starring in direct-to-DVD animated films. Although Barbie has appeared in miniseries and short films since 1987, the series officially began in 2001 with Barbie in the Nutcracker which is tagged as "(Barbie) Starring in Her First (Feature-length) Movie". It is followed by a total of thirty-five films while the series is on hiatus as of 2017. Other appearances of Barbie as a character in other films including Mattel's My Scene line as well as the Toy Story film series are not considered part of the franchise. Created by Mattel Creations (formerly Mattel Entertainment), the films have sold more than 27 million units worldwide, as of 2006.
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. Barbie is always placed as the central heroine of the story, with male characters and romantic interests serving as secondary to the plot.
Barbie's popularity on the toy market began to decline in the 1990s, and struggled further when MGA Entertainment introduced a line of Bratz dolls, whose sexualized characters contrasted with Barbie's older, chaste image. 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." 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. However, Mattel's research showed that girls were spending more time online than playing with physical dolls. 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 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. 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." The strategy worked: 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." 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. 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.
The following is the official list of thirty-six films in the Barbie film series.
|#||Title||Barbie's Role(s)||Release Date||Director(s)|
|1||Barbie in the Nutcracker||Clara/Sugarplum Princess||October 23, 2001||Owen Hurley|
|2||Barbie as Rapunzel||Rapunzel||October 1, 2002||Owen Hurley|
|3||Barbie of Swan Lake||Odette||September 30, 2003||Owen Hurley|
|4||Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper||Princess Anneliese/Erika||September 28, 2004||William Lau|
|5||Barbie: Fairytopia||Elina||March 8, 2005||Walter P. Martishius|
|6||Barbie and the Magic of Pegasus||Princess Annika||September 20, 2005||Greg Richardson|
|7||Barbie Fairytopia: Mermaidia||Elina||March 14, 2006||William Lau
Walter P. Martishius
|8||The Barbie Diaries||Barbie||May 9, 2006||Eric Fogel|
|9||Barbie in the 12 Dancing Princesses||Princess Genevieve||September 19, 2006||Greg Richardson|
|10||Barbie Fairytopia: Magic of the Rainbow||Elina||March 13, 2007||William Lau|
|11||Barbie as the Island Princess||Ro/Rosella||September 18, 2007||Greg Richardson|
|12||Barbie: Mariposa||Elina/Mariposa||February 26, 2008||Conrad Helten|
|13||Barbie & the Diamond Castle||Barbie/Liana||September 9, 2008||Gino Nichele|
|14||Barbie in A Christmas Carol||Barbie/Eden Starling||November 4, 2008||William Lau|
|15||Barbie Presents: Thumbelina||Barbie||March 17, 2009||Conrad Helten|
|16||Barbie and the Three Musketeers||Corinne||September 15, 2009||William Lau|
|17||Barbie in A Mermaid Tale||Merliah Summers||March 2, 2010||Adam L. Wood|
|18||Barbie: A Fashion Fairytale||Barbie||September 14, 2010||William Lau|
|19||Barbie: A Fairy Secret||Barbie||March 15, 2011||William Lau|
|20||Barbie: Princess Charm School||Blair Willows/Princess Sophia||September 13, 2011||Ezekiel Norton|
|21||Barbie: A Perfect Christmas||Barbie||November 8, 2011||Mark Baldo|
|22||Barbie in A Mermaid Tale 2||Merliah Summers||February 27, 2012||William Lau|
|23||Barbie: The Princess & the Popstar||Princess Tori/Keira||September 11, 2012||Ezekiel Norton|
|24||Barbie in the Pink Shoes||Kristyn Farraday/Giselle/Odette||February 26, 2013||Owen Hurley|
|25||Barbie: Mariposa & the Fairy Princess||Mariposa||August 27, 2013||William Lau|
|26||Barbie & Her Sisters in A Pony Tale||Barbie Roberts||October 22, 2013||Kyran Kelly|
|27||Barbie: The Pearl Princess||Princess Lumina||March 11, 2014||Ezekiel Norton|
|28||Barbie and the Secret Door||Princess Alexa||September 16, 2014||Karen J. Lloyd|
|29||Barbie in Princess Power||Princess Kara||March 4, 2015||Ezekiel Norton|
|30||Barbie in Rock 'N Royals||Princess Courtney||September 8, 2015||Karen J. Lloyd|
|31||Barbie and Her Sisters in The Great Puppy Adventure||Barbie Roberts||October 27, 2015||Andrew Tan|
|32||Barbie: Spy Squad||Barbie||February 8, 2016||Conrad Helten|
|33||Barbie: Star Light Adventure||Barbie of Para-Den||August 29, 2016||Andrew Tan|
|34||Barbie and Her Sisters In A Puppy Chase||Barbie Roberts||October 18, 2016||Conrad Helten|
|35||Barbie: Video Game Hero||Barbie||January 31, 2017||Conrad Helten
|36||Barbie: Dolphin Magic||Barbie Roberts||October 13, 2017||Conrad Helten|
Live action film adaptation
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 are developing a comedic live-action Barbie movie with Walter F. Parkes and Laurie MacDonald producing and Jenny Bicks writing the film. On March 4, 2015 it was announced that Diablo Cody will be doing rewrites on the script. 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.
On August 5, 2015, Sony Pictures set the film's release date on June 2, 2017. 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. 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. 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 the film.
Originally scheduled for release on May 12, 2017, it was reported that the live-action film adaptation was pushed back and was set for a June 29, 2018 release in the United States; it was later pushed back to August 8, 2018. 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. This film's concept was discarded in 2017. Sony in January 2018 would later move its release date to May 8, 2020. With a revived film division, Mattel Films, a Barbie film was considered one of two of the division's first projects.
- "Brandweek". Brandweek. Adweek. 47 (14-26): 8. April 2006.
To date, the Barbie brand's seven released, animated direct-to- DVDs have collectively sold more than 27 million units worldwide.
- 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.
- Still, Julie, "Feminist Barbie: Mattel's Remakes of Classic Tales", MP: A Feminist Journal Online. Oct2010, Vol. 3 Issue 2, p148-164. 17p.
- Ault, Susanne, "Girl Power Builds Barbie muscle: Mattel Takes Kids' Fave Forward with U Pact," Daily Variety (February 12, 2007). A11-A13.
- Orr, Lisa, "'Difference That is Actually Sameness Mass-Reproduced,: Barbie Joins the Princess Convergence," Jeunesse: Young People, Texts Cultures 1.1 (2009): 9-30.
- "Holding Back the Years." Marketing Week. Marketing Week, 14 Aug. 2008. Web. 22 Apr. 2009.
- Gogoi, Pallavi. "Mattel's Barbie Trouble." Business Week Online 18 July 2006: 7. Academic Search Premier. Web. 15 Mar. 2009.
- Netherby, Jennifer. "Doll Shape Shifts with Times." Daily Variety 9 Feb. 2007. LexisNexis. Web. 25 Oct. 2008.
- "Barbie's Midlife Crisis." Brand Strategy 14 May 2004: 20+. LexisNexis. Web. 25 Oct. 2008.
- Mattel. "Mattel Incorporated Fourth Quarter 2008 Earnings Conference Call." Mattel. Mattel, 2 Feb. 2009. Web. 16 Mar. 2009.
- "Sony Pictures Teams With Mattel To Fashion Film Franchise Based On Barbie Toyline". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 24, 2014.
- "Sony's 'Barbie' Movie Draws Diablo Cody for Rewrite".
- "'Barbie' Movie: Sony Trying Three Poses With Three Scripts".
- "Amy Schumer exits live-action Barbie movie".
- CS (August 5, 2015). "Sony Pictures Dates 16 Films Through 2019!". comingsoon.net. Retrieved August 5, 2015.
- Kit, Borys (December 2, 2016). "Amy Schumer in Talks to Star in 'Barbie' Movie From Sony". The Hollywood Reporter.
- Ford, Rebecca (March 23, 2017). "Amy Schumer Exits 'Barbie' Movie". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 23, 2017.
- 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.
- "Barbie Release Date Set for Summer 2018". ComingSoon.net. December 10, 2016. Retrieved December 10, 2016.
- "Sony Dates 'Silver And Black', 'Sicario 2'; Moves 'Holmes And Watson', 'Bad Boys 3' Unset & More". Deadline Hollywood. August 11, 2017.
- Evangelista, Chris (April 26, 2018). "Diablo Cody Never Actually Wrote a Script for the 'Barbie' Movie". Slash Film. Retrieved May 8, 2018.
- Townsend, Matthew (September 6, 2018). "Mattel's New CEO Starts Movie Unit to Jump-Start Film Franchises". Bloomberg.com. Retrieved September 7, 2018.
- McNary, Dave (January 23, 2018). "Anne Hathaway's 'Barbie' Moved Back Two Years to 2020". Variety. Retrieved March 24, 2018.