Margot Robbie Doesn't Want To Rush Into Planning Barbie Sequels


The ineffable vibe of Greta Gerwig's "Barbie" in the weeks leading up to its release has been curious to behold. While the film is indeed a crass, commercial exploitation of Mattel's most celebrated properties, audiences seem thrilled that a filmmaker like Gerwig has seemingly brought her personal passions to the project, using the movie to celebrate the ultra-pink fantasy dreamworld of America's favorite doll while still interrogating some of Barbie's questionable impacts on the nation's consciousness. From the looks of things, "Barbie" will be equal parts nostalgia piece and existential crisis.

Mattel has recently expressed a keen interest in making movies based on their toy products and their list of planned projects is vast and varied. In addition to movies based on Hot Wheels and "Masters of the Universe," Mattel has announced features based on Betsy Wetsy, the Rock'Em Sock'Em Robots, a Magic 8-Ball, and the card game Uno. With the buzz surrounding "Barbie," one might think the company would want to put multiple sequels into production right away. Indeed, according to a report in Time Magazine, Mattel CEO Ynon Kreiz has hinted at a multitude of upcoming Barbie flicks.

No "Barbie" sequels, however, are currently on the drawing board, mostly because the film's star and producer, Margot Robbie, wants to move cautiously. The same report in Time stated that Robbie is uncomfortable with the popular modern ethos of planning entire cinematic universes prior to the release of a first movie. She, along with all of us, likely recalls the spectacular runway stall of the Dark Universe and seems determined to protect "Barbie" from suffering the same fate.

Falling into a trap

Margot Robbie didn't want to assume that "Barbie" would be a success, nor the kind of film that audiences would want more of. She was more concerned with the film right now, the way it is, and how audiences might respond to it. She said plainly: 

Ynon Kreiz mentioned that he would prefer that the Mattel movies all leave the kind of pop impact that "Barbie" already has, even weeks before its release. He also noted that an important factor of achieving that would be to hire notable artists like Greta Gerwig and her co-screenwriter Noah Baumbach to make the Mattel movies with as much creative freedom as possible. Strange words coming from a CEO, but hopeful ones for audiences. Even if Mattel wants to take part in a mercenary brand-expansion exercise, it will at least leave some room for art. 

Gerwig herself admitted that "Barbie" owes its existence to corporate dominance rather than storytelling passion, saying "sometimes these movies can have a quality of hegemonic capitalism," but that she wanted to make sure there was an actual soul underneath. "It's like sneaking in humanity to something that everybody thinks is a hunk of plastic," she explained. 

Whether or not "Barbie" warrants a sequel — from an artistic and storytelling perspective — remains to be seen. If Kriez gets his way, multiple sequels are on the horizon. For now, let's all wait to see how excited we get after we've seen the movie.

"Barbie" opens in theaters on July 21, 2023.

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