Barbie (film series)

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Barbie Entertainment
Barbie Logo.svg
Barbie logo
Produced byMattel Creations
Mainframe Entertainment (2001–2009) (except The Barbie Diaries)
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–present)
Warner Bros. (upcoming live action)[1]
CountryUnited 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-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 and 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.


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 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: 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.


The 36 Barbie animated feature films from 2001 to 2017.

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

# Title Barbie's Role(s) Release Date Director(s) Program daily sale Video sales revenue
1 Barbie in the Nutcracker Clara/Sugarplum Princess October 23, 2001 Owen Hurley 110,000,000[13] $1,925,000,000 (est.)[13][14]
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/Princess Rosella September 18, 2007 Greg Richardson
12 Barbie: Mariposa Elina/Mariposa February 26, 2008 Conrad Helten
13 Barbie & the Diamond Castle Liana September 9, 2008 Gino Nichelle
14 Barbie in A Christmas Carol 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 581,187[15] $10,843,872[16]
25 Barbie: Mariposa & the Fairy Princess Mariposa August 27, 2013 William Lau 271,194[17] $5,878,488[16]
26 Barbie & Her Sisters in A Pony Tale Barbie October 22, 2013 Kyran Kelly 458,026[18] $9,454,173[16]
27 Barbie: The Pearl Princess Princess Lumina February 15, 2014 Ezekiel Norton 368,500[19] $7,580,205[16]
28 Barbie and the Secret Door Princess Alexa August 7, 2014 Karen J. Lloyd 329,836[20] $8,488,067[20]
29 Barbie in Princess Power Princess Kara/Super Sparkle February, 26, 2015 Ezekiel Norton 212,385[21] $4,655,070[16]
30 Barbie in Rock'n Royals Princess Courtney August 13, 2015 Karen J. Lloyd, Michael Goguen 131,836[22] $5,006,613[16]
31 Barbie & Her Sisters in The Great Puppy Adventure Barbie October 8, 2015 Andrew Tan 69,950[23] $4,171,779[16]
32 Barbie: Spy Squad Barbie January 15, 2016 Conrad Helten 190,146[24] $2,961,549[24]
33 Barbie: Star Light Adventure Barbie/Princess Starlight August 29, 2016 Andrew Tan 21,154[25] $2,088,235[16]
34 Barbie & Her Sisters in A Puppy Chase Barbie October 18, 2016 Conrad Helten 22,492[26] $2,095,317[16]
35 Barbie: Video Game Hero Barbie January 31, 2017 Conrad Helten, Zeke Norton
36 Barbie: Dolphin Magic Barbie September 17, 2017 Conrad Helten
Total 112,656,706 $1,988,223,368 (est.)

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.

Warner Bros. and Mattel are currently developing a comedic live-action Barbie movie with Walter F. Parkes and Laurie MacDonald as producers and Jenny Bicks as a writer the film.[27] On March 4, 2015 it was announced that Diablo Cody will be doing rewrites on the script.[28] 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.[29][30]

On August 5, 2015, Sony Pictures set the film's release date on June 2, 2017.[31] 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.[32] 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.[33] 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.[34]

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;[35] it was later pushed back to August 8, 2018.[36] 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.[37] This film's concept was discarded in 2017.[38] Sony in January 2018 would later move its release date to May 8, 2020.[39]

With a revived film division, Mattel Films, a Barbie film was considered one of two of the division's first projects.[38] In October 2018, it was announced that Warner Bros. would distribute the film and that Margot Robbie was in talks to play the titular character, following Hathaway's departure from the role.[40] In early January 2019, Mattel closed the deal with Robbie to star in the film and Warner and Robbie's production company, LuckyChap Entertainment, to co-produce the film.[41] In July 2019, it was announced that Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach would write the film’s script with Gerwig also in contention to direct the film.[42]


  1. ^ Hemmert, Kylie (October 5, 2018). "Margot Robbie to Star in Barbie Movie as Mattel Partners with Warner Bros". Retrieved October 17, 2018.
  2. ^ "Barbie, Hot Wheels, G.I. Joe toying with Hollywood". The Hollywood Reporter. August 2, 2007. Retrieved February 6, 2019.
  3. ^ "Barbie celebrates 25th DVD release today". Entertainment Weekly. February 26, 2013. 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. ^ a b "Barbie celebrates 25th DVD release today". Entertainment Weekly. February 26, 2013. Retrieved February 6, 2019.
  14. ^ "Barbie, Hot Wheels, G.I. Joe toying with Hollywood". The Hollywood Reporter. August 2, 2007. Retrieved February 6, 2019.
  15. ^ "Barbie in the Pink Shoes (2013) - Financial Information". The Numbers. Retrieved March 24, 2019.
  16. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Barbie Franchise Box Office History – Video". The Numbers. Retrieved March 24, 2019.
  17. ^ "Barbie Mariposa and the Fairy Princess (2013) - Financial Information". The Numbers. Retrieved March 25, 2019.
  18. ^ "Barbie & Her Sisters in a Pony Tale (2013) - Financial Information". The Numbers. Retrieved March 25, 2019.
  19. ^ "Barbie: The Pearl Princess (2014) - Financial Information". The Numbers. Retrieved March 25, 2019.
  20. ^ a b "Barbie and the Secret Door (2014) - Financial Information". The Numbers. Retrieved March 25, 2019.
  21. ^ "Barbie in Princess Power (2015) - Financial Information". The Numbers. Retrieved March 25, 2019.
  22. ^ "Barbie in Rock'n Royals (2015) - Financial Information". The Numbers. Retrieved March 25, 2019.
  23. ^ "Barbie & Her Sisters in The Great Puppy Adventure (2015) - Financial Information". The Numbers. Retrieved March 25, 2019.
  24. ^ a b "Barbie: Spy Squad (2016) - Financial Information". The Numbers. Retrieved March 25, 2019.
  25. ^ "Barbie: Star Light Adventure (2016) - Financial Information". The Numbers. Retrieved March 25, 2019.
  26. ^ "Barbie & Her Sisters in a Puppy Chase (2016) - Financial Information". The Numbers. Retrieved March 25, 2019.
  27. ^ "Sony Pictures Teams With Mattel To Fashion Film Franchise Based On Barbie Toyline". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 24, 2014.
  28. ^ "Sony's 'Barbie' Movie Draws Diablo Cody for Rewrite".
  29. ^ "'Barbie' Movie: Sony Trying Three Poses With Three Scripts".
  30. ^ "Amy Schumer exits live-action Barbie movie".
  31. ^ CS (August 5, 2015). "Sony Pictures Dates 16 Films Through 2019!". Retrieved August 5, 2015.
  32. ^ Kit, Borys (December 2, 2016). "Amy Schumer in Talks to Star in 'Barbie' Movie From Sony". The Hollywood Reporter.
  33. ^ Ford, Rebecca (March 23, 2017). "Amy Schumer Exits 'Barbie' Movie". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 23, 2017.
  34. ^ 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.
  35. ^ "Barbie Release Date Set for Summer 2018". December 10, 2016. Retrieved December 10, 2016.
  36. ^ "Sony Dates 'Silver And Black', 'Sicario 2'; Moves 'Holmes And Watson', 'Bad Boys 3' Unset & More". Deadline Hollywood. August 11, 2017.
  37. ^ Evangelista, Chris (April 26, 2018). "Diablo Cody Never Actually Wrote a Script for the 'Barbie' Movie". Slash Film. Retrieved May 8, 2018.
  38. ^ a b Townsend, Matthew (September 6, 2018). "Mattel's New CEO Starts Movie Unit to Jump-Start Film Franchises". Retrieved September 7, 2018.
  39. ^ McNary, Dave (January 23, 2018). "Anne Hathaway's 'Barbie' Moved Back Two Years to 2020". Variety. Retrieved March 24, 2018.
  40. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (October 5, 2018). "'Barbie' Zooming From Sony To Warner Bros; Margot Robbie In Early Talks". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved October 6, 2018.
  41. ^ Kroll, Justin (January 8, 2019). "Margot Robbie's 'Barbie' Film Moves Ahead as Warner Bros. Closes Deal With Mattel". Variety. Retrieved January 9, 2019.
  42. ^ 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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