Inherently there is nothing wrong with the prospect of a Barbie movie, a film that Sony (who’ll be producing it with Mattel) is looking to get going later this year. Theoretically at least. That Sony is looking to turn it into a franchise makes it seem like the latest in a long line of terrible ideas from Hollywood where branding trumps content.
The news of Sony and Mattel working on a Barbie movie comes from Deadline, and what this does is point out that there’s very few female filmmakers currently working on big or medium budget movies (not that they aren’t applicants). When Chris Miller and Phil Lord took on The LEGO Movie (whose success invariably led to this) they at least had a track record and a take on the material. Currently the Barbie script is being worked on by Jenny Bicks, who wrote on Sex and the City and recently scripted Rio 2, which isn’t bad news, while it worth noting that Mattel has been trying to get this movie made for the last five years (at least).
But this announcement comes on the heels of the recent word that the Peeps candy and the It’s a Small Word ride from Disneyland are being turned into a feature films as well. Those are pretty bad, but Barbie — though it’s retained popularity over the years — is best known for the materialism presented by the toys accessories and the Barbie’s unrealistic physical shape. Granted, those who play with Barbie don’t necessarily envision tea parties and capitalism as her only activities, but still. And then if Barbie is written as an empowered role model, it will all be at the benefit of selling more dolls. With production plotted to start late this year, we could see a film sometime in early 2016, likely aping the release strategy of The LEGO Movie.
Is there anything good about this?