Barbie Movie, a 2023 fantasy comedy helmed by director Greta Gerwig and co-written with Noah Baumbach, brings the beloved fashion dolls from Mattel to life in their first live-action feature following a string of animated adaptations. Leading the charge are Margot Robbie as Barbie and Ryan Gosling as Ken, embarking on a journey of self-discovery across Barbieland and the real world amidst an existential awakening. Delving deeper, the film offers a poignant commentary on patriarchal norms and the impact of feminism. Joining the ensemble are America Ferrera, Michael Cera, Kate McKinnon, Issa Rae, Rhea Perlman, and Will Ferrell.

“Barbie,” the summer sensation from director and co-writer Greta Gerwig, emerges as a stunning triumph, seamlessly blending technical prowess with a captivating tone. It unfolds as a visual spectacle, offering both a delightful escape and a rallying cry. Brimming with meticulous attention to detail, “Barbie” demands multiple viewings to fully appreciate its intricacies; one could easily spend an entire screening just admiring the exquisite accessories. Led by the visionary costume design of two-time Oscar winner Jacqueline Durran and the vibrant production design of six-time Oscar nominee Sarah Greenwood, every frame pulsates with creativity, perfectly mirroring the evolution of this iconic character.




“Barbie” is brimming with uproarious humor, featuring plentiful laugh-out-loud moments scattered throughout its idyllic, pink-tinted world. These comedic gems arise from both the isolation of its perfect realm and the hilarity of fish-out-of-water scenarios and clever pop culture nods as the outside world creeps in. Yet, due to the ingenious and widespread marketing campaign, you might find that many of the film’s inspired moments, like the homage to “2001: A Space Odyssey” or Ken’s self-pitying ’80s power ballad, are already familiar. Such is the nature of the anticipation industrial complex.

Plot

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In the vibrant world of Barbieland, where variations of Barbie and Ken dolls abound, a stark divide exists between the prestigious Barbies and the outcast discontinued models. While the Kens bask in beachside leisure, the Barbies hold esteemed positions in various fields. However, Barbie’s idyllic existence is shattered when she grapples with mortality, manifesting physical imperfections that challenge her perfection. Guided by Weird Barbie, she embarks on a journey to the real world to seek a cure, accompanied by Ken, who harbors deeper feelings for her. Their arrival sparks chaos, leading to encounters with societal criticism and corporate pursuit.

As Barbie confronts her owner and her own societal impact, she finds solace and strength in unexpected allies. Meanwhile, Ken undergoes a transformative realization about patriarchy, eventually influencing Barbieland’s dynamics upon their return. However, Barbie’s efforts to reclaim independence meet resistance until a heartfelt revelation from Gloria sheds light on the oppressive standards women face. With newfound resolve, Barbie and her allies challenge the status quo, inspiring a paradigm shift in Barbieland’s social fabric.

Production

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In August 2018, Mattel CEO Ynon Kreiz brought on board film executive Robbie Brenner, who later assumed leadership of Mattel Films. Following the expiration of Sony’s option on the project in October 2018, the film rights transitioned to Warner Bros. Pictures, prompting Hathaway, Jones, Macdonald, Parkes, and Pascal to depart the project. Margot Robbie initiated early discussions for a role, while Patty Jenkins briefly emerged as a potential director. Kreiz and Brenner were determined to secure Robbie for the project, admiring her resemblance to a traditional Barbie doll and her innovative ideas, which were discussed during initial meetings at The Beverly Hills Hotel’s Polo Lounge. Eventually, Brenner partnered with Robbie’s production company, LuckyChap Entertainment, and enlisted Robbie’s husband Tom Ackerley and Josey McNamara as producers. Robbie’s casting was confirmed in July 2019.

Taking on a producer role, Robbie personally pitched Barbie to Warner Bros. During the green-light meeting, she likened the film’s potential impact to Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park (1993) and humorously predicted its box office earnings to surpass $1 billion. Subsequently, she approached Greta Gerwig, whose work, notably Little Women (2019), she admired, to pen the screenplay. Gerwig, engaged in post-production for another project, agreed to write alongside her partner, Noah Baumbach. In July 2021, Gerwig also committed to directing the film. Robbie emphasized the film’s goal of defying expectations and delivering an experience audiences didn’t know they desired. In August 2023, Variety disclosed Robbie’s anticipated earnings of “roughly $50 million in salary and box office bonuses” as both star and producer.



  • Writing: Gerwig and Baumbach, granted complete creative autonomy, collaborated on the screenplay amidst the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns of 2020-2021, from their residence in Long Island. Baumbach grasped the essence of the film after viewing its inaugural scene, recognizing it as a reflection of “embracing mortality and sadness, sickness, and the entirety of the human experience.” Additionally, Gerwig drew inspiration from the true-life narrative of Ruth Handler, the creator of Barbie.
  • Casting: Gerwig and Robbie scoured for actresses embodying what they termed as “Barbie energy,” a fusion of beauty and exuberance difficult to define. By October 2021, Ryan Gosling was in the last stages of negotiations to portray Ken in the movie.
  • Set Design: Sarah Greenwood served as the set designer, while Katie Spencer assumed the role of decorator for Barbie’s productions. Drawing from the aesthetic cues of mid-century modernist architecture prevalent in Palm Springs, particularly the iconic 1946 Kaufmann Desert House by Richard Neutra and the imagery of Slim Aarons, they envisioned the Barbie Dreamhouse. Gerwig’s vision aimed to encapsulate the sheer exuberance and joyous spirit synonymous with the Dreamhouses.
  • Costumes: Costume designer Jacqueline Durran, known for her work on Little Women (2019) alongside Gerwig, took a pragmatic approach in crafting Barbie’s wardrobe for the film. She emphasized that Barbie’s attire is determined by her destination and activities, stressing the importance of being appropriately dressed for the task at hand. To capture the essence of the film’s Barbieland setting, Durran and her team designed costumes featuring approximately fifteen color combinations, inspired by the ambiance of a 1960s French Riviera beach. Their creative process drew influence from the iconic actress Brigitte Bardot.
  • Filming: Filming commenced on March 22, 2022, at Warner Bros. Studios, Leavesden, located in England, concluding on July 21. Noteworthy among the shooting locations was the Venice Beach Skatepark in Los Angeles, California. Rodrigo Prieto undertook the role of cinematographer. Before production commenced, Gerwig orchestrated a sleepover gathering with the female cast members to foster positive bonds, deeming it the most enjoyable approach to kick-start proceedings.

 

Cast Of Barbie Movie

Ryan Gosling, America Ferrera, Ariana Greenblatt, Issa Rae, Margot Robbie, Greta Gerwig, Simu Liu and Hari Nef at the premiere of "Barbie" held at Shrine Auditorium and Expo Hall on July 9, 2023



Margot Robbie                   Barbie Ryan Gosling                      Ken
Issa Rae                   Barbie Nicola Coughlan                    Barbie
Kate McKinnon                   Barbie Emerald Fennell                    Midge
Alexandra Shipp                   Barbie Simu Liu                      Ken
Emma Mackey                   Barbie Kingsley Ben-Adir                      Ken
Hari Nef                   Barbie Ncuti Gatwa                      Ken
Sharon Rooney                   Barbie Scott Evans                      Ken
Ana Cruz Kayne                   Barbie John Cena                      Ken
Ritu Arya                   Barbie Dua Lipa                    Barbie
Michael Cera                    Allan America Ferrera                    Gloria

Release

a line of men and one blonde woman on a pink, sparkly set

Barbie made its debut at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles on July 9, 2023, before its European premiere at Cineworld Leicester Square in London on July 12, 2023. The film was subsequently released in theaters across the United States and the United Kingdom on July 21, 2023.

“Barbenheimer”

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Barbie debuted on the exact day as Oppenheimer, a biopic on J. Robert Oppenheimer by Christopher Nolan, adapted from the book American Prometheus and distributed by Universal Pictures. The stark contrast in tone and genre sparked a wave of memes and ironic social media posts, joking about the unlikely pairing and suggesting they be seen as a double bill, coined as “Barbenheimer.”

Censorship

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The dispute erupted when Vietnam’s film censorship authority banned the movie, claiming it depicted the controversial nine-dash line, which represents China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea.

Religious interpretation

Efforts were made in several Muslim-majority nations to prohibit the film, purportedly due to moral objections or the perceived inclusion of LGBTQ+ themes. In certain instances, these endeavors proved fruitful.

Pakistan

The film premiered across Pakistan on July 21, 2023, following clearance by the Punjab Film Censor Board and other regional censor boards. However, the screenings in Punjab province were abruptly halted on July 22 by the interim Minister of Information and Culture, Amir Mir, citing concerns about its portrayal of homosexuality. Subsequently, the film underwent a censorship review in Dubai. Ultimately, on August 1, it received the green light for screenings in Punjab province.

Middle East

Initially set for release on July 19, 2023, in the Middle East, the film faced a postponement, pushing its premiere to August 31. However, a subsequent announcement by Vox Cinemas, the regional distributor for Warner Bros. films, revealed a new release date of August 10. Although the reasons behind the initial delay is not explicitly stated in the region’s film censorship authorities. Speculation arose regarding concerns surrounding the presence of a transgender actress in a Barbie role, as well as the inclusion of LGBTQ+ themes in the narrative and dialogue.

Box Office

Barbie Movie Posters: Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling, Issa Rae & Dua Lipa

Barbie amassed a staggering $636.2 million in the United States and Canada, while raking in an impressive $809.4 million in other global territories, culminating in an extraordinary worldwide total of $1.446 billion. Warner Bros. coined this achievement as “reaching a Barbillion,” a testament to its unprecedented success. Deemed a “record-breaking” triumph from its opening weekend, the film set a new milestone as the highest-grossing non-sequel, non-remake, and non-superhero property in box office history.

In a remarkable feat, Barbie soared past records previously held by beloved classics like Home Alone (1990) domestically and The Hangover Part II (2011) globally, securing its position as the highest-grossing live-action comedy film of all time. Director Greta Gerwig witnessed her film outshine her previous work, Little Women (2019), in box office earnings, marking Barbie as her most successful endeavor yet. Notably, Barbie achieved the remarkable feat of crossing the $1 billion mark worldwide on August 6, 2023, cementing its place in cinematic history as the first film helmed by a solo female director to achieve such a milestone. Additionally, it became the fastest Warner Bros. film to reach this landmark.



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